‘VAR will help, not hin­der, World Cup’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

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. He re­vealed that VAR of­fi­cials will wear full ref­er­ee­ing kit while sat in the view­ing studio in Mos­cow, so they feel part of the ac­tion.

“VAR of­fi­cials sweat with the stress— be­lieve me,” added Pier­luigi Col­lina, chair­man of the ref­er­ees com­mit­tee at Fifa.

“They couldn’t go into the box wear­ing a shirt, suit and tie - that is why they will be wear­ing the kit,” ex­plained the former top Ital­ian ref.

Col­lina said it is time for the VAR to prove it’s worth in the mod­ern game, “the time of ac­tion has come”, but he re­jected the no­tion that it re­moves some spon­tane­ity. The pres­ence of the VAR of­ten leaves play­ers un­sure whether to cel­e­brate, or wait un­til the goal is given, after hit­ting the back of the net.

“Would you rather a wrong goal be cel­e­brated or would you want to cut the cel­e­bra­tion?” Col­lina asked re­porters.

“I think the out­come is what counts.”

How­ever, the Ital­ian sidestepped 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. — Su­perS­port

A ref­eree con­sults the VAR sys­tem

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