January 11 – The use of video assistant referees, which made its debut in English football this week, is the main topic of discussion at the rescheduled business meeting of the International FA Board (IFAB), guardians of the game, on January 22.
Football’s lawmakers will study the results from all those countries where VARs is being trialled, paving the way for a decision on the system’s future use when they meet for their main annual session in early March.
As well as looking at the success, or otherwise, of the system on the ground, officials will also be provided with the findings of a scientific study report from the Belgian university KU Leuven which has been conducting an independent analysis.
One pressing concern over the system is that fans in the stadium can’t hear the discussion between the referee and VAR over game-changing incidents– unlike in other sports such as rugby and cricket – and are left completely in the dark until decisions are made. Showing occurrences on a big screen is one solution some pundits are advocating.
“Based on the analysis and evaluation of all relevant data and information, the Board may make a recommendation for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to consider on whether the use of VARs in football should be permitted and, if it is, how the use of VARs can be made accessible to as many competitions as possible,” said a FIFA statement.
Additional agenda items include an update on the two-year experiment of using additional substitutes in extra time.
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