Mon, Mar 05, 2018 - Page 10 News List

FIFA panel adds VAR to laws ahead of World Cup

AP, ZURICH, Switzerland

In one of the most fundamental changes ever to soccer’s 155-year-old rules, FIFA on Saturday approved video review and cleared the way to use it at the World Cup in June.

FIFA voted to add video assistant referees (VAR), despite mixed results from trials in top-level games.

The panel voted unanimously to begin updating the game’s written rules to include VAR and let competition organizers ask to adopt it.

The decision “represents a new era for football with video assistance for referees helping to increase integrity and fairness in the game,” the panel said in a statement.

FIFA must take a further decision on using VAR at the World Cup in Russia, which begins on June 14.

That should be on March 16, when the FIFA Council chaired by president Gianni Infantino meets in Bogota, Colombia.

Infantino has long said that World Cup referees must get high-tech help to review key decisions at the tournament.

Still, Infantino on Saturday said that the VAR system “is not perfect.”

In 18 months of trials worldwide, reviews have been slower than promised and communication is often unclear in the stadium.

“VAR at the World Cup will certainly help to have a fairer World Cup,” Infantino told a news conference. “If there is a big mistake, it will be corrected.”

Also on Saturday, the panel used evidence from two years of trials to approve teams using a fourth substitute during the 30 minutes of extra time in knockout games.

Teams can even use all four replacements in the extra periods if no changes were made in regulation time.

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