The FIFA World Cup 2018 which is scheduled to be held in Russia starts on Thursday and this will be the first World Cup when the VAR will be put to use.
After testing the Video Assistant Referee in England and a couple of other leagues, FIFA claim that the technology is ready to make its debut on the big stage. The footballing governing body of the world say that they have managed to rectify all the errors and the VAR will be a smooth transition in the World Cup.
But what exactly is the VAR and how will it be put to use during the Russia World Cup?
How will the VAR be put to use?
The Video Assitant Referee is going to be primarily used for purposes which have been defined as “game-changing” situations. The four purposes are: goals, penalties, red cards and cases of mistaken identity.
The referee will have the luxury of going over video footage against a decision that has already been made or against a decision that he is confused with.
It will provide the on-field referee with multiple camera angles of the incident which in turn will help the officials make a call or in some cases change his decision.
The technology though acts only as a guidance tool and the referee’s decision in any given situation will be the final call.
Is there any time limit for using it?
There is no time limit of how long the referee can take in order to review the footage. In simple words, the officials can take as long as they are satisfied.
Can VAR be used multiple times for the same decision?
Once the referee has made a call using the footage then the technology cannot be used once again for the same purpose.
Is there a special team?
No, there is no special team.
FIFA have chosen 13 officials who will be in charge of the VAR during the 64 matches scheduled to be played during the World Cup. And these officials have been chosen from the 99 member referees list for the tournament.
How many officials will be part of the team?
For each game, one VAR will be chosen who will be given three assistants in order to review the footage.
The finer details of the VAR:
In order to review the decision on hand, each VAR team will be given footage from 33 cameras out of which eight will record in slow motion.
Will each VAR team be present in the ground?
No, the VAR will operate from a headquarter in Moscow.
Criticisms towards VAR:
Even though the Video Assistant Technology has been tested throughout the world over the past 18 months but the technology is not foolproof.
Errors have popped up every now and then but those have mostly been a rarity.
Another major criticism towards the technology is the amount of time taken by the referee to review the footage which in some case can break the flow of the match.