March 5 – The FIFA panel overseeing preparations for the Women’s World Cup on Monday has recommended the use of the video review technology to help referees at the finals in France this summer, paving the way for the FIFA Council to ratify VAR next week.
FIFA’s organising committee, which includes Gianni Infantino and his UEFA opposite number Aleksander Ceferin, who chaired the meeting on Monday, both back the idea. “The tests were quite positive,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino. “I would of course wish that we do use VAR at the Women’s World Cup.”
All-female teams of referees and assistant officials will lead the matches in France.
No domestic women’s competition has used VAR until now but US women’s national team coach Jill Ellis, who brought up the issue at the men’s World Cup last summer in Russia, said that the proposal was “fantastic”.
“It’s great news. I think everyone in our sport realised it was such a positive, and to have now the same access to the same technology, I think it’s great,” Ellis said. “It’s going to be an intense World Cup and I think having the benefit of VAR is important.”
“I can’t see them not having (VAR), I think it would be a little bit insulting if we weren’t afforded the same opportunity (as the men),” Ellis added.
A Women’s World Cup referees workshop took place in both Doha and the UAE, allowing match officials to benefit from VAR training and experience the video system first hand. The match officials led matches with the assistance of the video review system at the U-17 Al Kass International Cup, which enjoyed the participation of some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Previously, FIFA had come in for criticism for its lack of urgency over the further introduction of the system for the women’s game as it has expanded its footprint in the men’s game. In December UEFA, which had been sceptical of the system before the Russia World Cup, announced that VAR would be used in the knockout stages of this season’s Champions League and in the Nations League competition. The Premier League also approved the introduction of VAR beginning next season.
This June France will kick off the Women’s World Cup against South Korea in Paris. The tournament will culminate with the final a month later on July 7.
Contact the writers of this story, Samindra Kunti and Andrew Warshaw, at firstname.lastname@example.org