Exclusive: FIFA look set to railroad through video refs for Russia 2018

By Andrew Warshaw

November 29 – Football’s lawmakers look set to have be rushed into a decision over whether to allow video technology to be used at next year’s World Cup – one of the most important rule change considerations of recent years.

Insideworldfootball has learned that the International FA Board’s postponed annual business meeting, originally scheduled for Abu Dhabi next month, has been rescheduled for January 22 – less than five weeks before the all-important main meeting to vote on Video Assistant Referees (VAR), giving members precious little time to think through whether to give the go-ahead.

Although the date of the main AGM has not yet been officially announced, it is usually early March and Insideworldfootball understands next year’s summit has been provisionally pencilled in for March 1 – 2 in Zurich.

Several countries are trialling video technology, including France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States. FIFA president Gianni Infantino is desperate to have VARs in place by the time of the World Cup but following a raft of questionable rulings – both in favour of and against VARs – there is mounting evidence that more work needs to be done in order to ensure the technology does not prove counter-productive.

“It kind of defeats the object of the ABM (annual business meeting) to have it so close to the main AGM,” said one source close to IFAB which comprises FIFA and the four British associations.

“The whole point of the ABM is to receive reports on any testing or experiments that are going on and be able both to confirm agenda items for the main meeting and provide a degree of feedback as to whether more work needs to be done.”

“The primary focus is around the pushing through of VARs in time for the World Cup because this could come into law. But it needs to be carefully considered and there is very little time between the two dates to do that.”

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