Take a look back through our timeline of events of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR)
Introduction of VAR in the EFL a ‘fair way away’
EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey admitted he was open to the possibility of implementing Video Assistant Referees to the league, but also said the idea was a ‘fair way away’.
“It has its attractions.
“But we don’t have the TV cameras in place that are standard fare now at Premier League clubs.
“One of our bigger concerns, ultimately, is around match officials and the staffing of it.
“We need the best officials we have got out live on a Saturday afternoon with a whistle or a flag.
“We need to keep as many of them active in those roles for as long as possible. The primary focus has got to be getting them out into the middle.”
Good point Shaun!
VAR arrives on the world stage – how did it do?
The World Cup introduced VAR for the first time ever in Russia and it certainly didn’t disappoint by way of excitement. But it wasn’t without its troubles with some issues still to be resolved and although the system was largely successful, it may well only be remembered for the World Cup final.
Find out why Nestor Pitana hit the headlines as France defeated Croatia 4-2 to lift the World Cup, as well every other game in the tournament covered by Mark Halsey with our popular feature Referee Ratings.
Let’s ask a Rugby League expert….
With just four days til the start of the World Cup we decided to get in touch with a Rugby League expert and get the lowdown on how they implemented the much discussed VAR system.
Amongst some of the questions asked…
How long does it take to train British video refs?
Why just one, not two?How much of a factor are complaints about how late games are finishing when VAR’s are used?Is there consensus on the maximum time for a review to take?Do you have a friendly piece of advice to those tasked with football’s..
VAR used as Chelsea lift the FA Cup
VAR was back on topic in England with the showpiece occasion of The FA Cup final utilising the system for the last time in 2017/2018 season.
Neil Swarbrick was on duty as VAR whilst Michael Oliver was in the middle. Three talking points cropped up, one of which involved Swarbrick. Chelsea wanted a penalty when Victor Moses’ cross hit the arm of Ashley Young. VAR was consulted – and no penalty was given.
Mark Halsey, however, thought that VAR could have played a different role:
Michael Oliver will have not been able to see the handball. It was very subjective and I believe that is why the VAR Neil Swarbrick didn’t intervene.
He may have actually thought that it was a penalty, but like I say, he clearly didn’t feel it was a clear and obvious error, so he doesn’t get involved.
That said, I think he should be asking Michael to view the monitor and if he does that, he would have given it.
Technical issues in Australia
Technical problems prevented the VAR being used to help decide the controversial winning goal in Australia’s A-League grand final.
Melbourne Victory’s James Donachie appeared to be in an offside position from a free-kick before heading back across goal to set up Kosta Barbarouses’ ninth-minute winner against Newcastle Jets.
But officials could not use VAR because the feed into the system at the McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle was lost.
Greg O’Rourke, head of the A-League, said:
“On this occasion the technology itself failed and the broadcast angles required were unavailable.
“While we understand that this happened only once this season, it was at a most critical time.
“We understand the disappointment and frustration of the Newcastle Jets, their fans and indeed all football fans.
“We are working with Hawk-Eye to thoroughly understand why it did and what can be done to prevent this happening again.”
No English VAR officials in the World Cup
Two weeks earlier the list of referees going to the World Cup in Russia was announced, with no English officials.
With VAR set to be used this summer, the list of officials to be used upstairs was announced at the end of April and it was no shock that again no English officials were called upon. However Guy Beale was surprised that no MLS officials were chosen in the list of 13.
External Link | Full list of VAR officials
No VAR disputes in the FA Cup Semi Finals
A huge sigh of relief for The FA and PGMOL as the VAR was not used in the FA Cup Semi-Finals. Man United overcame Spurs and Chelsea defeated Southampton to progress to the final.
There was some controversy in Chelsea’s win when Charlie Austin was penalised for fouling the goalkeeper in the area and the ball appearing to go over the goal-line. Questions were asked about VAR, but Mark Halsey put that to bed:
To clear up the VAR claims we’ve heard, the fact that it’s a subjective call completely rules out the VAR getting involved. They are only for clear and obvious errors, that particular incident wasn’t.
Drama during Mainz v Freiburg in the Bundesliga
More VAR drama, this time in the Bundesliga when a penalty was awarded after the half time whistle had been blown and the players had already left the pitch.
During Mainz’s Bundesliga win over relegation rivals Freiburg, referee Guido Winkmann called both sides back from the dressing room after consulting the VAR system and penalising Freiburg for handball.
Mainz midfielder Pablo de Blasis scored the penalty to put the hosts 1-0 up.
They initially had the penalty appeal turned down after right-back Daniel Brosinski’s cross deflected off Freiburg centre-back Marc-Oliver Kempf’s hand and was saved by keeper Alexander Schwolow.
As the players departed the pitch, Winkmann was told to consult VAR and ran over to the other side of the pitch to watch the replay on a monitor.
Winkmann overturned the decision and awarded the hosts a penalty before having to recall the entire Freiburg side and the handful of Mainz players who had left the pitch.
Here at You Are The Ref, two of our experts disagreed…..
Premier League rejects VAR
“It’s first three months in England have left a lot of us all wondering whether the system will actually benefit the game. We’ve seen penalties not given when they should have been, goals disallowed when they shouldn’t have been and the time taken to come to some of these decisions are simply not good enough.”
That was the view of Mark Halsey after the Premier League rejected the VAR system for the 2018/2019 season.
Two England games, two controversial talking points
The usual March international break was back and England were in action twice over five days.
On Friday evening no VAR was on duty as England ran out 1-0 winners against the Netherlands but they should have been awarded a penalty when Marcus Rashford was fouled in the penalty area.
The following Monday Chris Sutton appeared on The Ref Show and although he agreed that Rashford was fouled, he told us he wasn’t a fan of VAR.
On the Tuesday England welcomed Italy to Wembley and produced an excellent display which saw them 1-0 up with three minutes to play.
VAR involved as Italy get a penalty after England debutant Tarkowski is judged to have clipped Chiesa! pic.twitter.com/LXjapgaFkf
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) March 27, 2018
However after a collision with James Tarkowski, Federico Chiesa went down in the penalty area. The referee Deniz Aytekin waved play on but the VAR Daniel Siebert intervened and called for a review.
Aytekin went to review the footage and proceeded to award a penalty to Italy which Lorenzo Insigne dispatched, and England left the night confused and without victory.
YATR’s Mark Halsey had two points to raise:
The main issue here is that it’s not clear and obvious, so why does the VAR get involved? Once again we are seeing the video assistant try to re-referee the game, instead of following protocol.
VAR announced for World Cup
The system was announced for Russia 2018 after a FIFA meeting in Colombia. Gianni Infantino, the president of football’s governing body, confirmed the decision.
“We are going to have our first World Cup with video assisted refereeing. This has been adopted and approved and we are extremely happy with that decision.”
Mark Halsey was keen for football to embrace the decision but urged FIFA to deliver the proper training and education.
“It’s a prestigious tournament and we absolutely can’t be discussing fiascos like the ones we saw at the Confederations Cup last summer.”
No issues of note in the FA Cup Quarter Finals
The FA Cup took centre stage with three out of the four ties utilising VAR.
The FA and PGMOL however could breathe a sigh of relief after an incident free weekend. The only issue in question was about a goal being disallowed for Spurs when Son Heung-min was adjudged to be offside by the AR.
Replays showed that he may have been onside but it wasn’t clear and obvious, and so despite a review, the VAR did not intervene.
On The Ref Show the following Monday, Gary Megson and David Hirst discussed the offisde and the way other sports have used the technology.
View the full Ref Show here and watch Gary and David’s comments in full
IFAB confirm introduction of VAR to Laws Of The Game
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) “unanimously approved” its introduction on a permanent basis after a meeting in Zurich.
Leagues and competitions must now apply to IFAB to implement the system.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said a decision on whether VAR would be used at the World Cup will be taken at a meeting on 16 March.
“As of today, video assistant refereeing is part of football,” he said.
Following the announcement do Mark Halsey and Roger Dilkes think we’ll see the VAR in the Premier League next season?
FA Cup 5th Round replays cause more disputes
The first night was relatively quiet with Swansea defeating Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 and no VAR interventions.
The next evening Tottenham dispatched of Rochdale 6-1.
We saw a free-kick turned into a penalty. Correct decision. Hoorah.
But we also had a goal disallowed for an alleged push. Alleged the key point here, again questions were asked whether it was ‘clear and obvious’, the bigger question, how has the VAR seen it as a foul?
VAR strikes again ?
Spurs thought they had the lead, but Fernando Llorente was judged to have committed a foul.
Robbie Savage was less than impressed ? pic.twitter.com/IePFp0rjWk
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 28, 2018
No VAR in 18/19 Champions League
It was announced that the VAR would not be used in next season’s Champions League, with the head of Uefa Aleksander Ceferin saying he sees “a lot of confusion”.
He added: “Fans see the VAR screen all the time but nobody knows how it works
“We will not use it in the Champions League next season.
“For me, it might be a good project but we shouldn’t rush it.”
External Link | VAR: Uefa will not use system in next season’s Champions League
Man City win the Carabao and VAR isn’t in the news!
The first piece of silverware for 2018 went to Man City as they defeated Arsenal 3-0.
The VAR was on duty but not used.
VAR used in Africa for first time
The VAR system was used in Africa for the first time as Wydad Casablancaof Morocco beat TP Mazembe of DR Congo 1-0 to be crowned Super Cup champions.
VAR was initially supposed to be introduced during the African Nations Championship in Morocco in January, but training sessions were held instead.
Fast forward a month and during this game, the referee used the system to deny Wydad a second penalty, correctly.
FA Cup 5th Round throw up more controversy
After a quiet Friday night with no VAR controversy during Chelsea’s comfortable 4-0 win over Hull City in The FA Cup, we’d be forgiven surely for expecting the same the following evening, wouldn’t we?
Well we didn’t, instead, during Man United’s tie against Huddersfield Town Juan Mata had a goal disallowed for offside. It appeared in real time that the player beat the offside trap before slotting home. Mata celebrates and United are 2-0 up. That was what we all thought.
But the VAR intervened and disagreed with the original decision, believing Mata to be offside. The broadcaster then showed us footage of the apparent image the VAR had seen (as seen above) provided by Hawkeye.
The footage that we were seeing didn’t seem believable and it brought up the question of , who exactly is the ‘Replay Operator’?
Dean Mohareb summed it up quite well on The Ref Show:Juan Mata was forgiving in his post-match comments and supported the use of VAR going forward. He did however posted this on his Twitter account.
Your face when you meet Mr. VAR for the first time in your career ?? pic.twitter.com/Iv2ilJkrtH
— Juan Mata García (@juanmata8) February 17, 2018Hawkeye also apologised after the game and on their social media accounts claimed that the VAR did indeed view the correct image.
A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1
— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018
Brazil rejects VAR
After a vote, Brazil’s clubs rejected VAR for 2018 despite the CBF (the local FA) announcing that VAR would be in use in all first division games six months ago.
Tim Vickery discussed their decision but told us that the country had far bigger issues to deal with first.
Some of the clubs have justified their rejection of VAR on the grounds of ‘wait and see’ – that the effectiveness of the video resource should be judged in the World Cup, and then assessed.
A giant flag takes the headlines in Portugal
Amongst all the debate there was a comical moment in Portugal thanks to a giant flag covering the camera.
Imagine the uproar if this happened in the Premier League!
? Incredible scenes in the Portuguese League as Boavista conceded an offside goal but VAR couldn't be used due to a giant flag blocking the camera… pic.twitter.com/LjY8nAcEmr
— The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) February 7, 2018
FA Cup 4th round replays
Not much to say here other than no news is good news for VAR.
There were two games with Swansea thrashing Notts County 8-1 on the 6th February and then a day later we saw Newport County knocked out by Tottenham losing 2-0, both games not needing any VAR intervention.
A tough first month
January 2018 was the month VAR was introduced to English football, and it certainly caused many debates across the media, coaches and fans across the country.
Mark Halsey called for patience but reminded the FA of a few teething problems:
“All in all the issues I’ve mentioned are all teething problems which I suppose we should expect in a trial period. Speeding up the process perhaps through better replays and angles available to the VAR; more clarity for the players, coaches and fans are just some of the issues that need to be worked out.
“I also think the VAR and AVAR should be based at the stadium.”
Whilst on The Ref Show, there was debate on whether the VAR was really worth all this time and effort.
Questions, thoughts and solutions
With the month coming to an end and the first six VAR games having been played, You Are The Ref coach Andy Hogg gave his view on where VAR should go, whilst Guy Beale had two issues that needed settling.
A storm at Anfield
There was plenty to discuss at Anfield with missed penalties, disallowed goals, wasted time and more as the sixth game to use VAR proved to be a disaster.
Incident 1️⃣: 45 seconds
Incident 2️⃣: 2 minutes, 23 seconds
Incident 3️⃣: 1 minute, 38 seconds
Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup by West Brom last night but it was VAR that stole *all* the headlines.
Watch them all back and then have your say ? pic.twitter.com/aPNt7I74My
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 28, 2018
Just five months til the World Cup
Amidst all the talk of the VAR in England, little thought was made about its potential use in just five months time, at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Kim Milton Nielsen did however gives his opinion:
“My view is that the forthcoming World Cup in Russia will need some big successes early on for the system not to cause big problems and risk rejection in the court of public opinion.
“The traditional dry run of the Confederation Cup last summer hardly gave us confidence, and once again the wrong decision was reached in one game despite deliberations taking over five minutes.
“Whatever happens, the summer of 2018 is destined to be a key milestone in the history of the game in general and refereeing in particular.”
Teething problems were always going to be brought up in the trial period and one of them was the the VAR signal.
The Ref Online wanted better clarity for fans, players and coaches as to when the VAR was being used, his suggestion was to put a message on the big screen.
This was in place for the fifth match to use VAR, the return leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Arsenal. The VAR was not required in this game.
Elleray provides an update
- 56.9% Checks were penalty incidents and goals.
- Average of fewer than 5 checks per match
- Median check time of VAR is 20 seconds
These were just some of the facts and figures outlined in IFAB’s latest evaluation of VAR.
The Ref Online was full of praise for IFAB’s way of monitoring its output.
Thailand next up
VAR was trialled for the first time in Thailand in the 2018 Thailand Champions Cup game between Buriram United and Chiangrai United.
Three weeks later it was also trialled in the Thai League 1 game between Bangkok United and Muangthong United.
An underwhelming first 10 days but a glimmer of hope
Following its first outing, the next ten days saw three more games used in the VAR trial.
Starting with the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Arsenal, there were two decisions where referee Martin Atkinson consulted his VAR.
Then the following week saw two FA Cup replays test the VAR system. Firstly there was another landmark moment in English football at The King Power Stadium as Kelechi Iheanacho became the first player to score a goal awarded after a VAR review.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 16, 2018
Andy Townsend was cautiously optimistic and discussed the home of the VAR.
But the following night there was controversy when Chelsea hosted Norwich City.
Willian was cautioned for simulation and VAR Mike Jones agreed with referee Graham Scott’s initial call.
But that gained the wrath of the footballing world, including The Ref Online who had some choice words for Jones.
VAR finally makes debut in domestic English football
The honour of being the first VAR in England went to Neil Swarbrick, assisted by Peter Kirkup, with Andre Marriner taking charge of the fixture.
We covered the game on RefCam with Mark Halsey who gave us this summary:
“The only big talking point was Brighton’s second goal when there was a hint of hand-ball when it clearly came off the Glen Murray’s knee. Even if the ball had brushed off his arm after hitting his knee, it still wouldn’t have been deliberate and in my opinion the goal would have still stood because it wasn’t a clear and obvious error.”
Who’s up for the VAR role?
The FA announced Brighton v Crystal Palace as their first VAR game in the FA Cup 3rd Round.
The Ref Online speculated over who he thought should be given the duty.
He had two names in mind, the first Andre Marriner, the second a bit of a wildcard.
Chaos at the 2017 Club World Cup in UAE
In the first-half of Real Madrid’s Club World Cup semi-final against Al-Jazira the VAR took centre stage in more confusing controversy.
Casemiro rose highest at the far-post to nod home with Karim Benzema in an offside position.
Initially, the goal was disallowed but after a brief consultation with his VAR colleagues, Ricci gave it and Casemiro ran off celebrating, with the ball even placed back on the centre spot.
However Al-Jazira players then took their chance to swarm the referee, demanding a further chat with the VAR’s.
Ricci decided to watch the goal on a video screen next to the pitch, at which point he decided that Benzema had affected play from an offside position, and ruled it out.
Can VAR stop simulation?
A hot topic in early December was when Liverpool and Everton clashed in the Merseyside derby at Anfield.
The away side were awarded a penalty when Dejan Lovren fouled Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the area with the Croat and his manager Jurgen Klopp furious at the decision.
The Ref Show the following day also brought up heated debate with David Hirst and Mark Halsey.
Drama in the MLS Cup semi-final
With MLS 2017 season drawing to a close, many would say it was a fairly successful first season for the VAR.
There was however drama in one of the semi-finals where Houston Dynamo midfielder Tomas Martinez received a red card against Seattle Sounders after the VAR helped identify an incident of violent conduct.
First VAR game in England is….?
England’s rivalry with Germany has brought up many highlights over the years, including of course the ‘ghost goal’ mentioned at the very start of this timeline.
On the 10th of November in 2017, this fixture went down in English football history as a landmark game because it was the first official UK game ever to have the VAR on duty.
The team of Polish officials consisted of:
England – Germany
Michał Obukowicz and Radosław Siejka
Fourth Official: Daniel Stefański
VAR & AVAR: PAWEŁ GIL and Marcin Borkowski
The VAR ended up not being used.
VAR set for Copa Libertadores
South America was next to debut the system in its version of the Champions League, the Copa Libertadores.
It was used starting in the semi-finals and Tim Vickery discussed a concern playing on his mind.
- Do players and coaches know the rules of the VAR?
- Do they know they can’t appeal for a review?
- If they do, do they know they will be cautioned?
- We could end up with more red cards…..
Trials in China
VAR was trialled for the first time in China in the 2017 Chinese Super League match between Chongqing Dangdai Lifan and Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.
China plans to use the VAR for all matches in 2018.
The Australian A League also announced the VAR for all its games in 2017/2018.
Premier League letting the game down?
That’s the view of The Ref Online after another incident in the Premier League…
“During Leicester’s away trip to Bournemouth Graham Scott failed to award a penalty kick to the home side after a deliberate handball. Like many errors at this level the match officials are exposed to the numerous number of camera angles available.
“Scott had little if no chance of gaining a position to see the incident. Neither could his assistants help because they did not have a chance to view it.”
However Carlton Palmer on The Ref Show had a different view.
Premier League returns, but not without controversy
The Premier League 17/18 season kicked off in style with Arsenal defeating Leicester 4-3 at the Emirates.
But amidst all the excitement, The Ref Online felt the result was harsh on Leicester who were leading 3-2 going into the final ten minutes.
Arsenal equalised but there was an illegal handball in the build-up and the former referee supremo believes if VAR was on duty, they would have intervened.
Mark Lawrenson was in agreement….
A successful start Stateside
Following the history making weekend in the MLS where VAR’s were on duty, Paul Rejer,the first VAR Manager for the MLS, was encouraged by the system’s first outing and discussed two disallowed goals in his latest Play Of The Week.
In summary, judging by these two incidents, Video Review in the MLS has got off to a great start. We have seen the result of many hours of training that our referees have undertaken, proving invaluable with these two goals being correctly disallowed.
External Link | PRO: Play of the Week 22: First week of Video Review
MLS introduces VAR for the 2017 season
The MLS debuted the system during the 2017 All-Star Game on the 2nd August 2017,. but it was not used.
It’s first official use came in a match between Philadelphia and FC Dallas where the referee Ricardo Salazar order a video review of an apparent goal scored by Dallas forward Maximiliano Urruti.
Video Assistant Referee Hilario Grajeda correctly nullified the goal after he determined that Dallas forward Cristian Colman had kicked Philadelphia goalkeeper John McCarthy in the groin.
Confusion in the Dutch Super Cup
Feyenoord won the Dutch Super Cup despite having a goal ruled out by the VAR in bizarre circumstances.
With the score at 1-0, Vitesse forward Tim Matavz appeared to be fouled inside the box but referee Danny Makkelie did not stop play.
Feyenoord broke quickly and scored, but Makkelie was alerted by the VAR to award the penalty to Vitesse and rule out the goal.
Vitesse equalised from the spot but went on to lose 4-2 on penalties.
The World Cup warm-up threw up plenty of controversy with two games in particular standing out.
Firstly, during Cameroon’s 3-1 defeat to Germany a player was cautioned for a foul challenge. Bizarrely he booked the wrong player. We’ll let Ref Show pundit Dean Mohareb tell you the rest.
Later there was controversy in Chile’s semi-final win over Portugal, when defender Jose Fonte appeared to foul Francisco Silva in the box, but the referee did not award a penalty – or ask to see the incident again.
Then in the final between Germany and Chile, referee Milorad Mazic missed a brutal elbow from Chile defender Gonzalo Jara on Germany’s Timo Werner. But even after re-watching the incident, he still only awarded a yellow card to the amazement of spectators and fans worldwide.
Leagues move forward with VAR and FIFA plan for World Cup
Plenty of leagues across the world decided for the forthcoming season to introduce the VAR.
The system was introduced in Poland from July with the Polish SuperCup and some games in the Ekstraklasa benefiting from the system. Germany and Italy followed suit in the Bundesliga and Serie A respectively with all games using VAR.
It was also used in Portugal for the 16–17 Taça de Portugal final and afterwards in all Primeira Liga games whilst in Belgium, after trials in summer friendlies and the Super Cup, the Jupiler League used the VAR in 48 games.
Meanwhile in Asia, South Korea Football League announced VAR in full, four months into the K League season after three months of testing. It came earlier than expected however with Cho Young-jeung, who heads up the K League referees committee, saying: “We decided to adopt the system quickly after we saw major incidents early this season.”
FIFA plans to debut the system at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Everybody’s talking about it
With the VAR having thrown up plenty of discussion in recent weeks, You Are The Ref’s guest columnists could talk about nothing else.
Take a look at some of the opinions our resident experts had at the time.
Vickery urges more caution as VAR announced for Copa Libertadores
South America’s version of the Champions League, the Copa Libertadores, announced plans to introduce VAR later this year in its closing stages.
Tim Vickery however told us why was urging caution, especially after recent controversial showings in the Confederations Cup.
“It should be clear to everyone by now that the video referee is not the simple panacea that some had believed it to be. It has the potential to be an excellent aid – but, as the early stages of the Confederations Cup are making clear, overturning decisions has an emotional impact on the game even when the right call is made.”
England lose 3-2 to France with the VAR a major talking point
Was Dele Alli fouled when he won England a penalty when he clashed with Raphael Varane?
The referee thought so, the VAR agreed, but The Ref Online did not.
“The view of myself and experienced colleagues is that Alli tripped himself up.
“As VARs, we would have reversed the penalty award and that would also have spared the red card.
England win the u20 World Cup with the VAR used in the final
There was World Cup success for England in the u20’s final as they beat Venezuela 1-0.
The VAR was used in the match when experienced Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers awarded Venezuela a second half penalty and was immediately confronted by protests.
He clearly signalled for the VAR to review the incident. A decision was quickly made upholding the original decision. They went on to miss the penalty and England went on to win.
The VAR will once again be used, this time in the Confederations Cup which kicks off in six days time.
More countries follow suit
With most leagues entering the business end of the season, and with some recent VAR success and months of trials, FA’s across the world decided to make their first forays into the video replay market.
The system was used in the major cup finals in Portugal and Holland whilst in France they were used in lower league France play-offs.
Meanwhile in Brazil, both legs of the Campeonato Pernambucano final featured VAR.
PGMOL and Premier League at odds? Back to the screen debate…
Not long ago we discussed whether the match referee should be able to go to the side of the pitch to view a screen and determine the correct outcome of a decision.
Back then Mike Riley of the PGMOL thought they should, but Premier League supremo Richard Scudamore did not, an opinion shared by our own The Ref Online.
Could VAR have kept Leicester’s European dream alive?
According to The Ref Online, yes!
They are 1-0 down after the first leg of their quarter final with Atletico Madrid as a result of a poor decision. This is the very type of call that can be resolved by the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee.
A League becomes first professional league to use VAR
The A League in Australia became the first top-level domestic football league in the world to implement the VAR system during Melbourne City’s 1-0 win over Adelaide United.
There was no VAR intervention.
One day later on the 8th April the VAR was used during Wellington’s 1-1 draw with Sydney FC. The VAR identified an illegal handball in the penalty area and awarded Sydney FC a penalty.
External Link | History made in A League
Do referees really need to view a screen?
The Ref Online questions whether there is a need for referees to view a screen after Mike Riley enters the discussion saying he would prefer the match referee to have the final say by reviewing a video.
“Let’s consider a future game where an offence has taken place and the referee has pointed for a penalty kick and issued a yellow card to the defender. The VAR intervenes and says the offence took place outside the penalty area.”
“You should then rescind the penalty kick and award a free-kick outside the penalty area and send off the defender for DOGSO.
“If the referee is operating Mike Riley’s procedure he’s going to take a look at the screen. He moves to a position near the touchline to view a monitor.
“There is no doubt that he will be surrounded by players and club officials all wanting to view the screen.
Spain beat France 2-0 with VAR used in an international for first time
Video technology was used to correct two wrong decisions as Spain beat France in a friendly in Paris. France striker Antoine Griezmann had a goal ruled out by a VAR for offside. And Spain’s second goal, scored by Gerard Deulofeu, was awarded by the video official after an assistant referee wrongly flagged for offside.
So a successful night for the VAR with both decisions taking less than a minute and a showcase of how major mistakes can be corrected. However The Ref Online told us that it won’t always be the same…..
Elleray opens up on VAR…and would Barca have come back from 4-0 down in the Champions League?
The following month saw IFAB Technical Director David Elleray open up another debate about the VAR, suggesting he didn’t want ‘weak refereeing’ with officials too often going for the soft option of a review, and ‘not being willing to apply an advantage.’
Elsewhere you might remember Barcelona’s incredible 6-1 comeback against PSG in the UEFA Champions League quarter finals? No doubt that night will go down as one of the greatest moments in the competition’s history.
But what if VAR had been on duty that night at the Nou Camp?
VAR will aid decision making, not make the decision
The Ref Online tells us he can’t wait for the introduction of the VAR. However he urges more caution saying the system will be an aid to decision-making; it will NOT make the decision for the referee.
That’s as distinct from the use of goal line technology where the Hawk-Eye system in use in the Premier League does make the matter of fact decision.
IFAB meets to discuss video referees
Football’s lawmakers gathered in London for the annual International Football Association Board (IFAB) meeting, with video technology part of the planned discussions.
It seems that the VAR is getting closer and closer…
First ever video replay decision in a FIFA competition
In the semi-final of the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup, video replay technology to support referee decisions was used for the first time in a FIFA competition.
The technology was used to award a penalty to Japanese club Kashima Antlers which helped them defeat South American club champions Atletico Nacional 3-0 and reach the final of FIFA’s club competition.
Thirty minutes into the semi-final, Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai stopped the game after receiving information from the video assistant referee (Danny Makkelie) about a foul that had gone unnoticed during a Kashima Antlers attack a few minutes earlier. Kassai re-examined the situation from a pitch side monitor and pointed to the penalty spot.
On the large screen inside the stadium, the scene where Kashima’s Daigo Nishi was tripped by Nacional’s Orlando Berrio in the box, was also shown to the spectators. In contrast to the delighted Kashima supporters, big boos were heard from Nacional’s side.
Kashima’s Shoma Doi was confident enough to step up, find the back of the net and open the new chapter in football refereeing.
Pitch-side monitor introduced as FIFA use VAR in a competition for the first time
The FIFA Club World Cup became the first official FIFA competition to trial the VAR.
Held in Japan, referees were also able to use pitch-side monitors for the first time to review decisions.
Video assistant referees reviewed “match-changing” situations before informing the on-field official.
The referee was then able to view footage for some decisions – something not permitted in previous trials.
Third IFAB VAR meeting at the home of FIFA
After holding two workshops for all competition organisers interested in the VAR project in Amsterdam and New York earlier this year, The IFAB has invited all associations and leagues participating in the experiments to join the 3rd workshop at the home of FIFA.
The main focus was on education and training of the VARs and referees applying the system and the technology set up and implementation.
You Are The Ref’s Head of Education Paul Rejer, who was VAR Manager for the MLS at the time, attended the meeting and said:
“The meeting was very useful. David Elleray did an excellent job of conducting the workshop giving clear instruction on the protocol and the way forward.
“There were representatives there from various countries around the world.
“As the USA were regarded as the pioneers of VAR as we had been training since January 2015, I was asked to do a presentation on the progress we had made since then.”
External Link | FIFA hosting third IFAB workshop on video assistant referees
The first red card following the use of the VAR
An incident in a Dutch KNVB Cup match between Ajax and Willem II saw Anouar Kali became the first player to be sent off following the use of the VAR.
The Ref Online was happy with the overall first few outings of the VAR, but he did have one tweak in mind.
France v Italy the first international to use the system
Two of Europe’s most famous footballing nations, France and Italy, locked horns in a friendly game, marking the first time VAR was used in an international fixture – a game which Les Bleus ran out 3-1 winners.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino was delighted to witness a piece of history….
Historic night as VAR used in a competitive match for the first time
A landmark moment as video assistant referees were used for the first time in a competitive match.
In the United Soccer League, FIFA’s new initiative was applied to the fixture between New York Red Bulls II and Orlando City B, and the VAR technology was utilised in either half to determine the outcome of two key match incidents.
New Jersey hosts second IFAB workshop
The IFAB organised their next workshop in coordination with Major League Soccer (MLS) – one of a number of competitions across six countries already confirmed to take part in the two-year trial.
Referee communication in “live” experiments was a key focus, with practical demonstrations taking place at Red Bull Arena, while the participants also learned more about how they will need to educate the VARs and referees before any experiments can begin.
First IFAB workshop takes place in Holland
Leagues and associations interested in conducting VAR gathered in Amsterdam to see the VAR technology in action, with the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) demonstrating how their “offline” trials have worked during an Eredivisie match between Heracles Almelo and FC Utrech.
“We chose Amsterdam as the host for the first workshop because over the last couple of years the KNVB has done some initial experimentation, and we just felt that it was right to give them the opportunity to present their key findings as a basis for our debates,” said Lukas Brud, Secretary of The IFAB.
External Link | Video replay technology on show at IFAB kick-off workshop
IFAB gives the go-ahead
IFAB Statement | The 130th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of The International Football Association Board (The IFAB) in Cardiff on 5 March 2016 approved a two-year period of “live experiments with video assistance for clear errors in match-changing situations” involving Video Assistant Referees, who will be match officials, to determine if ‘the implementation of VARs improves the game’.
External Link | VAR Experiment
YATR calls for video reviews to be introduced
You Are The Ref has long been an advocate of video technology to be introduced to football and in late 2015, several of our pundits and columnists voiced their support to get the VAR campaign going.
One incident that had us up in arms was when Man United welcomed PSV in the UEFA Champions League in the Group Stages of the 15/16 season. Luke Shaw suffered a broken leg after he went on a run which took him into the opponents’ box, before he was dispossessed after a full-blooded tackle from PSV’s Hector Moreno.
Moreno’s trailing leg appeared to catch Shaw’s lower leg, and the full back immediately went to ground in obvious pain. The defender however was not cautioned or dismissed.
Following the game The Ref Online told us that this was a perfect example of where a video referee would have been able to intervene.
Take a look at the tackle in the video below, but a warning that it’s not one for the faint hearted!
— PHSports LiveScores (@LiveScoresPH) September 16, 2015
The Frank Lampard goal that never was
Our story of the foundations of VAR date back to the summer of 2010 in South Africa where England are up against fierce rivals Germany in the last 16.
Half an hour in and the Three Lions are 2-1 down. Frank Lampard, 20 yards out, strikes a half volley towards Manuel Neuer’s goal. The ball hits the bar and crosses the goal line before the keeper grabs hold of it.
The then Chelsea midfielder wheels away to celebrate but his elation quickly turns to devastation as the referee Jorge Larrionda deems the goal not to have crossed the line. Germany go on to win 4-1.
It was that moment Mike Van der Roest, a lead member for referees at the Dutch FA questioned: “Why was it that the only man who could actually do something about the incorrect decision was also the one person denied access to the footage?”
An interesting thought indeed Mike…..
External Link | How VAR was born and raised in Dutch football