FIFA to introduce VAR at Russia World Cup

ANI | Updated: Mar 03, 2018 23:51 IST

Zurich [Switzerland], Mar 03 (ANI): In an unprecedented change to the sport, the International Football Association Board (IAFB) has given the nod for the introduction of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology in this year's upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia.

According to The Guardian, in an annual general meeting held at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, the IAFB unanimously voted for the approval of the technology to be used in this year's World Cup, meaning referees will have access to video replays to review key decisions, that otherwise have to be made in a fraction of a second, in the duration of a match.

Six out of eight votes were needed to green-light the technology for the highest accolade in world football, with FIFA having four votes and each of UK's Home Nations having a vote each.

The Football Association and the Irish FA were reportedly in favour of the ruling, while the Welsh and Scottish FAs had reservations about the decisions. Those reservations clearly didn't affect proceedings as the final decision remained unanimous. The announcement of this historic decision was made by the FIFA president, Gianni Infantino.

Italy's Serie A and Germany's Bundesliga are the only leagues among Europe's top five leagues to be already using VAR, both leagues debuting the technology this season. The Spanish La Liga is all set to introduce it next year.

However, the Premier League's stance regarding the technology remains vague, as a lot of top-flight club's executives remained wary of it's introduction. VAR has already received considerable flak regarding the delays and stoppages, the potential confusion it can cause, and the undermining of 'human' referees.

Crystal Palace's chairman, Steve Parish, expressed his apprehensions about VAR, which has been in effect in the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup in England, saying, "I am very worried about VAR. I hate all those games that stop and start, waiting for a decision, and they don't necessarily get the decision right."

"We're going down an incredibly dangerous road with that," he added, "My real problem is that we've got it for five decisions at the moment, but I can't see any end to it. You know the answer to everything is going to be more VAR."

However, the introduction of the technology will most definitely prevent future occurrence of incidents like Maradona's 'Hand of God' in the '86 World Cup final, and Frank Lampard's shot, which clearly crossed the line after hitting the crossbar, but was not given as a goal, in the last 16 stage of the 2010 World Cup against Germany.(ANI)