Football rules body to cast vote on VAR's fate

ZURICH • The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system has reared its ugly head a number of times in this season's English FA Cup, where the technology has been on trial.

And its audition could soon turn into a permanent gig across other competitions, with rule-makers set to decide tomorrow whether it is worth risking football's ebbs and flows to cut down on refereeing mistakes.

The International Football Association Board (Ifab) is expected to decide whether to give VAR, which enables referees to look again at key decisions that have been made in a split second, the go-ahead.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino is VAR's leading supporter and has promised it will be used at the World Cup if approved by Ifab.

He has said it would wipe out controversies such as the dubious penalty awarded to Switzerland that proved decisive in their World Cup qualifying play-off against Northern Ireland in November.

But there are questions as to whether this use of technology is sucking the soul out of the game.

"My verdict is absolutely negative; players don't hug each other after scoring, instead they look straight towards the referee," Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi concurred. "It takes the excitement away from us and the fans. For me, it's removing the adrenaline and my enjoyment of football."

Before trials began last year, Ifab said the VAR was for "minimum interference, maximum effect". According to IFAB protocols, VAR should only be used in judging goals, penalties, direct red cards and mistaken identity.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has said he believes VAR needs more time before it can be more widely used, ruling out its use in next season's Champions League whatever the outcome tomorrow.

Fifa holds four of the eight votes on Ifab - the others are split between the four British national associations with six votes needed for VAR to be given the green light.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2018, with the headline 'Football rules body to cast vote on VAR's fate'. Print Edition | Subscribe