Football

Football's third umpire: All you need to know about VAR

Referee Sascha Stegemann watches TV screens in the video assist center in Cologne, Germany.

Referee Sascha Stegemann watches TV screens in the video assist center in Cologne, Germany.   | Photo Credit: AP

Monday's FA Cup game between Brighton and Crystal Palace will have a special place in England's football history - the VAR system will be used for the first time in an English competitive club match.

This decision, announced on December 7 by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), comes as part of the board's attempt to assist in the global development of the VAR system and to demonstrate that the domestic competition is "modern, progressive and innovative."

What is VAR?

Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is the newest addition to the refereeing team who, along with an assistant VAR, will monitor the game for "clear and obvious errors." For now, its domain has been restricted to four game-changing categories -- awarding goals, penalty or no penalty decisions, direct red cards, and cases of mistaken identity for red or yellow cards. As stressed by the Football Association chief Martin Glenn, the idea behind VAR is to have "minimum intervention for maximum gain."

FIFA officials stand near a monitor used by the video assistant referee (VARs) set up on the sideline of the pitch at Yokohama International Stadium prior to the semifinal match between Real Madrid and Club America at the FIFA Club World Cup soccer tournament in Yokohama, near Tokyo.

FIFA officials stand near a monitor used by the video assistant referee (VARs) set up on the sideline of the pitch at Yokohama International Stadium prior to the semifinal match between Real Madrid and Club America at the FIFA Club World Cup soccer tournament in Yokohama, near Tokyo.   | Photo Credit: AP

 

How will this work?

The footage from all the camera angles in the field will be collected and relayed by an operator to the location where the VAR will be situated.

Once an incident occurs, the referee will inform the VAR who will review the footage and convey, via headset, what the video shows. Alternately, the VAR can inform the referee that a decision or incident need to be reviewed. The referee can then confirm or change the original decision based on the information from the VAR and to aid that, he can look at a replay on a screen at the side of the pitch. The original decision is only changed if it was clearly wrong - the decision of the on-field referee will be final. In essence, VAR is to football what third-umpire is to cricket.

Has it been used before?

The VAR has already been implemented in several domestic leagues, including the 2017-18 German Bundesliga and the 2017-18 Italian Serie A. It has also been tried out, without being executed, in a friendly match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium in London. Reuters has reported that the IFAB is due to decide in March whether to ratify its use on a permanent basis and, depending on the decision, FIFA will use it in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Good, bad or ugly?

One of the major criticisms faced by the VAR is that it will slow down the game and rob it of its emotion. It is keeping these concerns in mind that the scope of VAR has been restricted to only four scenarios where the errors are made most often. Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has said that the use of video replays by referees in Series A has led to more controversies, though he went to to add that it is "obviously the first year VAR has been put into use and next season we will have more clarity."

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 3:36:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/footballs-third-umpire-all-you-need-to-know-about-var/article22398217.ece

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