FIFA cautiously optimistic on video assistant referees

By N.Carroll June 29, 2017
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Following the introduction of video assistant referees (VAR) at the 2017 Confederation’s Cup in Russia, FIFA remain positive about the new technology despite some minor setbacks.

According to FIFA’s Head of Refereeing Massimo Busacca, VAR was used to correct six “game-changing decisions” in addition to another 29 “major incidents” during the tournament.

However, there were instances which caused some confusion and Busacca acknowledged the system still required substantial development.

 "In general we have really good results but... many aspects should be improved," he stated at a press conference.

"We are convinced if used correct[ly], it can reduce many mistakes. But not eliminate. We are here only to reduce.

"We need our team, our referees, and member associations to do it every day." 

One of the main VAR discrepancies from the Confederations Cup was during Germany’s match against Cameroon where the on-field official required two reviews in order to send the correct player off for a vicious challenge.

Meanwhile the semi-final match between Chile and Portugal had instances that, upon replay, could have seen VAR utilised in potential game turning circumstances, however the technology went unused by the referee.

Prior to the tournament, an SMI poll showed that 86% of football fans were in favour of using VAR. Despite the teething issues, this is a figure that looks unlikely to significantly drop given that the vast majority of supporters highlighted that they simply wanted the correct decision to be made

Busacca was confidant VAR would help make this a reality.

“We are certain this can reduce refereeing errors.” 

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