In­fantino tar­gets video refs for 2018 World Cup

New Straits Times - - Sport -


FIFA president Gianni In­fantino be­lieves there is a re­al­is­tic chance video as­sis­tant ref­er­ees will be used at the 2018 World Cup in Rus­sia.

Video as­sis­tance was in­tro­duced to sup­port ref­er­ees with “game-chang­ing” de­ci­sions for the first time in a Fifa com­pe­ti­tion at the Club World Cup in Ja­pan in De­cem­ber.

The four ar­eas cov­ered by the VAR of­fi­cial were goals, penal­ties, red cards and cases of mis­taken iden­tity and, although there was con­tro­versy over the de­layed award of a penalty dur­ing the tour­na­ment, In­fantino would like to see the tech­nol­ogy fine-tuned in time for next year’s World Cup.

Speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence fol­low­ing a meet­ing of the In­ter­na­tional Football As­so­ci­a­tion Board at Wem­b­ley on Fri­day, he said: “That is our aim. I’m very con­fi­dent. The signs are en­cour­ag­ing.

“The lit­tle hic­cups we have seen are to do with the train­ing of the ref­er­ees, but they will be able to take de­ci­sions much faster when they use it more of­ten.

“It is re­al­is­tic for us (to use it at the World Cup) be­cause of the ex­pe­ri­ence we had in the Club World Cup last De­cem­ber in Ja­pan.

“We have seen for the ref­eree it is not a big change and they learnt very quickly.

“We will use it for sure in the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup, the Un­der20 World Cup and the Club World Cup. VAR is pos­i­tive be­cause it will al­low the right de­ci­sion to be taken in a game-chang­ing cir­cum­stance.”

Fifa will test the tech­nol­ogy with all the can­di­dates to be World Cup ref­er­ees be­fore IFAB, football’s global rul­ing mak­ing body, de­cide whether to green light its use at the World Cup at a meet­ing in March.

Eng­land FA chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Glenn sup­ports the move and said he hopes to in­tro­duce VAR tech­nol­ogy for the third round of next sea­son’s FA Cup.

“I feel very con­fi­dent given the preparation un­der­way now. I would ex­pect to see video as­sis­tant ref­er­ees from the third round of the FA Cup next sea­son,” he told re­porters.

“The ev­i­dence of the test­ing is re­ally en­cour­ag­ing.

“At the pro­fes­sional level in Eng­land, there’s no ‘if ’. It’s not an ‘if ’ it’s a ‘when’.”

The IFAB meet­ing pro­duced a plan to al­low coun­tries to in­tro­duce ex­tra sub­sti­tutes, sin bins for yel­low card of­fences, and vary­ing match du­ra­tions.

How­ever, those ideas will only be used for dis­abil­ity, grass­roots and youth football and do not ap­ply in the top di­vi­sions or se­nior in­ter­na­tion­als.

IFAB also plan to con­sider a “po­ten­tially fairer sys­tem for kicks from the penalty mark.”

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