For the first time in a UEFA National Team competition, Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be used at the upcoming UEFA Nations League finals in Portugal. The coaches of the four finalist teams received a briefing and share their views on the benefits of VAR.
Vladimir Petković, the head coach of Switzerland said: “I am very positive about the introduction of the VAR. If we have the technical means to support the referees in their work, we should make the best possible use of them. It is important, however, that in the end it is still a man who decides, not a machine".
Fernando Santos, the head coach of Portugal said: “I believe that the introduction of VAR in the UEFA Nations League represents a step forward for all people who love football and fair play. VAR is a fantastic tool for all referees, players and coaches and it should be extended to all UEFA competitions.”
Gareth Southgate, the head coach of England said: “We had a good briefing in Porto recently and had positive experiences of VAR in the World Cup. My feeling both internationally and domestically is that, in the main, the big decisions have been right. The purpose of using VAR is to help the referees so I think it has been a help. You will never get a system that is 100 per cent fail-safe but the key decisions that are clear and obvious have been rectified. For me, that is a positive.”
• A VAR team – a video assistant referee, an assistant video assistant referee, and two video operators – will be located at each stadium and will support the decision-making process of the referee.
• The VAR team will constantly check for clear and obvious errors related to the following four match-changing situations:
b. Incidents in the penalty area
c. Red cards
d. Mistaken identity
• The VAR team will check all match-changing situations, but will only intervene for clear and obvious mistakes. The referee can hold up play while a decision is being reviewed.
• If the VAR review provides clear evidence for a serious mistake in one of the game-changing situations, the VAR can then ask the referee to conduct an on-field review (by viewing replay footage in the review area). The final decision can only be taken by the referee.
• The VAR is also able to take into account any infringement that could have taken place in the immediate build-up to the incident (the attacking phase of play).
• For 'factual' decisions (e.g. offside, fouls in or outside the penalty area), the VAR can simply inform the referee of those facts and the on-field view screen isn't needed, but it is always the referee who takes the final decision.
• The on-field review process will be communicated within the stadium using either the stadium screens or the public announcement system.
• Because VAR is being used, there will be no additional assistant referees.