UEFA boss expresses VAR doubts ahead of World Cup 2018 | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 18.04.2018
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UEFA boss expresses VAR doubts ahead of World Cup 2018

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has "some fear for the World Cup" when it comes to the implementation of VAR. The widely-criticized video referee system was only approved for use at Russia 2018 two weeks ago.

Speaking to Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport, Ceferin admitted that he was not wholly convinced by the video replay system (VAR), saying it needed further testing.

 "I have some fear for the World Cup, where we will have referees who have never officiated with the VAR,"  the Slovenian said. "I hope there are no scandals or problems."

Read more: Mainz top Freiburg after VAR drama

The technology is not currently employed in UEFA's flagship competition the Champions League but has been employed in Serie A, Portugal's Primeira Liga and the Bundesliga, where it's been given a frosty reception.

Ceferin has previously said that VAR would not be used in the Champions League next season but he sees no way to avoid its eventual introduction.

"The Champions League is like a Ferrari or a Porsche: you cannot drive it right away, you need training, offline testing. And everyone has to understand how it works," he said.

UEFA-Chef Aleksander Ceferin (picture-alliance/dpa/Keystone/M. Trezzini)

Aleksander Ceferin is not convinced by VAR

"It's too early for VAR. That doesn't mean we will never have it as the process is inevitable... We'll have it one day in the Champions League but there's no rush."

Critics of VAR suggest it negatively impacts the experience in a stadium and it has faced extensive teething problems in its debut season in Germany. On Monday, Mainz were awarded a penalty after the players had returned to their dressing rooms for half time in a critical relegation clash against Freiburg, while fans in Germany have been almost universally critical.

The subject also arose during the Champions League last eight clash between Real Madrid and Juventus, when the Spanish side were awarded a controversial late penalty that won them the tie, before Juve keeper Gianluigi Buffon was sent off. Ceferin dismissed suggestions VAR could have made a difference in this case.

"What would have changed with VAR? Nothing. There are those who have watched it 20 times, I've watched it 50, but for half the people it's a penalty and for the other half, it isn't."

mp/jt (AFP/Reuters)

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