‘VAR will help’
DESPITE lingering doubts about the use of video assistant referee (VAR) in Russia, FIFA’s refereeing bosses insisted yesterday that it will help – not hinder – officiating at the World Cup.
The VAR system has been the source of confusing decisions and long delays while situations are checked during testing in both the German Bundesliga and Serie A.
FIFA director of referees Massimo Busacca admits the system has been rushed in for the World Cup, but insists officials are ready and VAR will help referees make better decisions in Russia.
“We ran very fast getting it ready, but we are convinced of it,” said Busacca at a press conference in Moscow.
“We are ready, we know we must be ready as there can be no experiments here.”
Busacca compared the VAR to the teams vying for the trophy in Russia.
“It’s like a team who didn’t play well before a World Cup, made mistakes but now plays much better,” said the Swiss ex-ref.
“No national team arrives at the World Cup perfect - it’s the same for us. We know that we have to improve.”
Busacca believes delays while situations are checked are worth the sacrifice for lowering the risk of wrongly-awarded goals.
He also said controversial scenes will be replayed on screens at the World Cup stadiums so fans can see why decisions were reached.
Pierluigi Collina, when interviewed, side-stepped the question whether referees had been specifically briefed to halt games – or even order the teams off – if, as feared, there are racist incidents in Russia.
“There is a three-step procedure and they are ready to go through with it if need be,” said Collina.
The ‘Three-step procedure’ means if there is a racist or discriminatory chanting, the referee can pause the match to request an announcement asking for the chanting to stop.
If it persists, the ref can suspend the match and request another announcement, then wait until the chanting stops, but if it still does not cease, he can abandon the game. – AFP