UEFA has confirmed that video assistant referees (VARs) will not be used in next season’s Champions League, while Gianni Infantino said, on the same day, that the system was almost certain to be deployed at the World Cup.
VAR, which allows match referees to review decisions on a pitch side monitor or by consulting an assistant who monitors the game on a video, has been trialled in a number of competitions over the past year, including the FA Cup. Football’s law-making body IFAB is expected to decide on Saturday whether to authorise its use on a permanent basis and Infantino, the FIFA president, has said that, if VAR is approved, it will be used at this summer’s World Cup. It has proved controversial in this season’s FA Cup and in Serie A, where there have been cases of penalty kicks being revoked after a wait of several minutes, or goals being disallowed for minor infringements after delays. Critics argue it has taken the spontaneity and emotion out of the game and left fans confused. “We have to base decisions on facts and not feelings”, Infantino said at the UEFA Congress. “The facts are that from almost 1,000 matches which were tested, the accuracy rate of the referees went up from 93% to 99%. If we, or I, can do something to make sure that the World Cup is not decided by a referee’s mistakes, then I think it’s our duty to do it”. Infantino added that controversy was part and parcel of Serie A – with or without VAR. “If you lose the match, before it was the fault of the referee, now it’s the fault of VAR... that’s part of the customs, of the traditions of Italian football as well,” he said.
The UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, later told a news conference that he was not necessarily against VAR but that it needed more time. “We will not use it in the Champions League next season”, he said. “I see a lot of confusion... I think there is no way back any more but we have to educate the referees properly and we have to explain to the fans when it can be used. Fans keep seeing the [VAR] screen all the time but nobody knows how it works. For me, it might be a good project but we shouldn’t rush it”.
Source: The Guardian