2018 World Cup in Russia to Feature Video Assistant Referees

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2018

SWANSEA, WALES - FEBRUARY 06: A screen of the Video Assistant Referee VAR system on the pitch side during The Emirates FA Cup match between Swansea City and Notts County at The Liberty Stadium on February 06, 2018 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)
Athena Pictures/Getty Images

FIFA have announced video assistant referees will be used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia as technology begins to take an enhanced role in officiating matches.

According to BBC SportFIFA President Gianni Infantino said the governing body wants to assist referees with the latest VAR technology, insisting the sport must move with modern times.

Infantino said:

"We need to live with the times.

"We wanted to give the referees tools so they can make better decisions, and in the World Cup some very important decisions are made.

"It's not possible that in 2018 everyone in their living room knows a few seconds after the play whether a referee has made a mistake and the referee doesn't."

Rolf Vennenbernd/Associated Press

The VAR system has been trialled in a number of countries before its first appearance at a World Cup, with La Liga and Ligue 1 ready to implement the technology next season.

VAR has also been trialled in the FA Cup in England this term, with mixed opinions about its popularity amongst pundits and supporters.

Infantino added:

"I was sceptical at first, but without trying you cannot know what it's worth.

"Without VAR, a referee can make one important mistake every three matches. With VAR, the figures we have seen from the trials that have been held show that a big mistake is made once every 19 matches."

It appears VAR is here to stay, with FIFA's latest decision indicating they will favour its implementation across the globe.

The system has had teething problems during its first period of use, and fans will take time to settle to a fundamentally different approach to refereeing in the future.

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