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Football rules board to extend VAR ‘in-stadium’ trial

Football’s lawmakers are to extend a trial of the broadcasting of video assistant referee (VAR) decisions, it was announced on Saturday.

An annual general meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in London agreed that a 12-month trial exclusively relating to VAR decisions at FIFA tournaments, which started at the Club World Cup in Morocco earlier this year, would continue at the Under-20 World Cup in Indonesia from May-June.

A decision will then be made on whether the trial will be continued at other FIFA tournaments later this year.

AN IFAB statement said the decision had been made “to further improve communication to fans in stadiums” as well as providing more information for those watching on television.

A criticism of VAR, as it is used in major club competitions such as England’s Premier League, is that spectators don’t see or hear any of the review process.

This is in contrast to comparable decision review systems in cricket and rugby, where the process is broadcast in a stadium on a giant screen. Rugby spectators can also listen to the referee’s rulings via a ‘ref-link’ radio device.

IFAB also voiced its approval Saturday for the more accurate calculation of ‘additional time’ that was adopted at the  2022 World Cup in Qatar, and often led to much more time being played at the end of halves. 

Officials said “competitions around the world should follow this approach”. 

With concerns over rising aggression towards match officials around the world, IFAB said it would establish a working group to further improve discipline.

This came after hearing from England’s Football Association about a trial at grassroots level where referees wear body cameras that record all communications with players and coaches.


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