The use of video technology at the 2018 World Cup in Russia was welcomed with mixed reviews due to issues such as consistency and the game disruption, it is however being beta-tested in several major tournaments around the globe.

The introduction of video assistant refereeing (VAR) was designed to help referees eliminate errors, ensuring less mistakes would be made that would lead to tumultuous results in games.

Countries such as Australia, the United States and Italy have already been implementing its usage, however England has not yet introduced VAR to its top-flight league, though it has been used in the FA Cup.

VAR is the acronym for video assistant referee and it is new initiative being rolled out in a number of football competitions across the world.

The VAR system is only used in four game-changing scenarios: goals (and incidents leading to them), penalties, red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

Decisions can be overturned, but only in the case of a “clear error”. The referee can request a video review of an incident themselves, or the VAR can notify the referee of an error.

Referees can signal that an incident is being checked and then they have the option of simply accepting VAR advice or reviewing footage themselves before coming to a conclusion.

VAR is not currently being used in the Premier League after clubs voted against its inclusion for the 2018-19 season, but it will soon be introduced.

The Premier League confirmed in November 2018 that its clubs have agreed in principle for the technology to be used from the 2019-20 season onward. A formal request will now be made to the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to ratify the agreement.

Though it is not yet in use in the Premier League, VAR is currently being used in a number of English competitions on a trial basis. Other top level competitions in the country have fully incorporated VAR into the officiating of games, with some matches in the EFL Cup and the FA Cup acting as a litmus test.

The FA Cup third round encounter between Brighton and Crystal Palace on January 8, 2018 was the first time VAR was used in English club football. It has been used in a number of games since, but not without controversy.

Plenty of high profile figures in the game have called for VAR’s introduction to the Premier League to be expedited, with the angry outburst of Southampton striker Charlie Austin directly preceding the announcement of the November 2018 agreement.


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