Northern Ireland to push for VAR after 2018 play-off carve up against Swiss

November 14 – Northern Ireland are to push for the implementation of video assistant referees in the wake of the country’s failure to reach the World Cup courtesy of a highly controversial first-leg penalty that left players, officials and fans fuming.

Michael O’Neill’s side lost their play-off with Switzerland 1-0 on aggregate and Irish FA officials will use the injustice of the spot kick decision to back FIFA’s efforts to introduce VARs as part of the laws of the game.

The IFA is one of the five members of the law-making body, the International Football Association Board, giving them a key role over the possible roll-out of video assistants.

Britain’s Press Association reported on Monday that the IFA intends to write to FIFA to express dismay at the circumstances that denied them a World Cup berth even though the Swiss deserved to go through over the two legs. The referee adjudged Corry Evans had handled Xherdan Shaqiri’s shot though replays showed it hit the back of his shoulder.

Trials of VARs are under way in several countries and FIFA has been using it in some of its tournaments, including the Club World Cup and recent Under-17 World Cup.

IFAB is set to decide next March whether to VARs should come into effect or whether they in fact need more experimentation given the spate of wrong decisions at club and international level.

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