Video ref trials underway at the Red Bull Arena in the US

July 21 – The first ‘live’ experiments with video refs complete today in New Jersey, US. The trials are part of a workshop organised by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) which governs the rules of the game, in cooperation with the MLS.

As part of the workshop, taking place at the Red Bull Arena, participants are being shown how the VAR works in the control room and how the main referee reviews video footage on playback. Observers are given headsets to hear how the referee and the video ref communicate when a decision needs to be reviewed.

The video referee can only be called into play in four specific instances: if the ball has crossed the line to score a goal; whether a penalty decision is correct or not; to make sure no wrong decisions are made surrounding a sending off; to ensure there is no mistaken identity when the referee hands out a yellow or red card.

The video referee is not being trialled in one of the most contentious areas of the game, the offside rule. Nor are players allowed to issue a challenge that would bring the video referee into action.

IFAB said about 20 leagues and associations are attending the workshop, with a view to getting involved in similar trials themselves over the next two years.

So far competitions in six countries have confirmed they will participate in trials going forward. The results of those trials will then go back to the IFAB board for a ruling on whether Video referees are sanctioned.

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