In­fantino hails VAR ‘great suc­cess’ at Con­fed Cup

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

FIFA pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino hailed the video as­sis­tant ref­eree (VAR) sys­tem as a “great suc­cess” at the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup, but ad­mit­ted it still needs im­prov­ing.

World foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body is test­ing the sys­tem in Rus­sia and In­fantino said the six game-chang­ing decisions the VAR has so far picked up meant “more jus­tice and fair play”.

The best ex­am­ple of the sys­tem’s im­pact came when Por­tu­gal were de­nied a goal in their 2-2 group stage draw against Mex­ico af­ter the video as­sis­tant spot­ted four play­ers were off­side be­fore Nani scored from a re­bound. And in Ger­many’s 3-1 win over Cameroon, the ref­eree ini­tially sent off the wrong player be­fore the VAR over­ruled the de­ci­son and Ernest Mabouka was cor­rectly dis­missed for foul­ing Ger­many’s Emre Can.

“The VAR has been a great suc­cess in Rus­sia,” said In­fantino. “The video refs had the chance to in­ter­vene and there were six gamechang­ing decisions, where they ac­tu­ally cor­rected the de­ci­son or mis­take, made by the ref. “With­out the VAR, we would have had a dif­fer­ent tour­na­ment and it would have been a lit­tle less fair.

“Thanks to VAR we have achieved a great thing-those big mis­takes will not hap­pen any longer. “It will al­ways be the ref­eree who de­cides and there will al­ways be dis­cus­sions, but big mis­takes will be cor­rected and that is a great achieve­ment af­ter it was asked for for so many years.”

Long de­lays while the VAR makes a de­ci­sion and com­mu­ni­cates it to the ref­eree on the pitch have held up matches on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, with In­fantino con­ced­ing there is still room for im­prove­ment.

“Of course it’s a test, we still need to work on the de­tails, the speed of the decisions be­ing taken, for ex­am­ple.”

FIFA plan to fur­ther test and fine-tune the sys­tem in the Ger­man and Por­tuguese leagues next sea­son, while In­fantino in April said the tech­nol­ogy will be used at the 2018 World Cup. Pier­luigi Col­lina, the chair­man of the FIFA ref­er­ee­ing com­mit­tee, said Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup of­fi­cials were telling him that the VAR sys­tem gave them more con­fi­dence. “The VAR is a very pos­i­tive tool to help refs avoid mak­ing mis­takes, it is a very pos­i­tive out­come so far,” said Col­lina.

“It’s a work in progress with the VAR sys­tem-we have only used it at 74 matches, at (last De­cem­ber’s) Club World Cup, the Un­der20 World Cup (in June) and here.

“It’s not a big num­ber and it would be a sur­prise if ev­ery­thing was per­fect af­ter so few matches. “When we train some­one with­out match pres­sure, it’s very dif­fer­ent. “They need to be in that match sit­u­a­tion when you know you have a very short time to get the cor­rect in­ter­pre­ta­tion to make the right de­ci­sion. “We want to avoid mis­takes which are re­mem­bered for years which af­fected the fi­nal out­come of the match or a com­pe­ti­tion.” — AFP

Pier­luigi Col­lina

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