England kicks off official use of Video Assistant Referees January 8 (How it works)

Video Assistant Referees (VAR), the new video ref technology will swing into official use in England on January 8, at the Amex Stadium in the FA Cup third-round clash between Brighton and Crystal Palace.

There will be a giant video screen by the side of the pitch and close to both dugouts for the referee to re-watch events he may have missed.

Under the new system, a referee can issue a red card in the 80th minute for an offence commmitted in the 20th minute as the VAR will be able to inform match officials at any time of violent conduct spotted by TV coverage.

Video Assistant Referee

While VAR is designed to be a back-up for match refs to rule on key decisions, video officials are also on alert for violent conduct that gets missed.

And it means that a player could commit an unpunished red-card offence, score a crucial goal and then be dismissed for that initial act of violence — but the goal would still stand.

VAR will be available to alert refs to “clear and obvious errors” relating to goals, penalties, red-card offences and mistaken identity.

Some selected referees have been working with the technology for 18 months in private ahead of the planned launch of the system next season.

The following are procedures put in place to prevent an abuse of the system:

  • To stop managers and coaches trying to put pressure on the refs, the FA are warning such behaviour will lead to them being sent off.
  • Under the new rules, though, the ref MUST make an initial decision — rather than opting to ask for video back-up.
  • Another referee from the “select panel” will be in the video booth and linked up with the match officials. But he is likely to be based at match-day headquarters rather than at the stadium
  • Decisions for corners, free-kicks and throw-ins are not to be looked at again.
  • If a decision is clearly wrong, the video official can tell the referee and allow him to change the call.


According to SunSport, Chiefs at the referees’ body, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, feel VAR provides a “safety net” to help reduce mistakes but they do not want “robo-refs” to take over.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane and his players angry expresssed anger at delays caused by the technology in their FIFA Club World Cup semi-final win over Al Jazira.

Zinedine Zidane and his players were not happy with the delays caused by VAR in their Club World Cup match

Luka Modric claimed the system “caused a lot of confusion” while Zidane said: “It took four minutes to know the decision and that is not so pleasant.

“The decision should be fast but after four minutes I find it really strange.”



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