FIFA is finally going to give soccer referees the ability to view in-game video replays before making big decisions. The technology will be tested next year and could be used to decide penalty and red card incidents, among lots of other things.
Video replays are already used in many sports, and fans have long been wondering why they’re still not available in soccer, with so many games still being changed or decided by incorrect refereeing decisions.
Now FIFA, along with the International Football Association Board, which lays out the rules for soccer, have finally agreed to bring video replays into the game. The “Video Assistant Referees” (VARs) system will enter testing next year.
“The IFAB approved in principle a detailed set of protocols for the experiments and agreed they should be conducted for a minimum of two years in order to identify the advantages, disadvantages and worst-case scenarios,” explains FIFA.
“The expectation is not to achieve 100 per cent accuracy in decisions for every single incident, but to avoid clearly incorrect decisions that are pre-defined “game-changing” situations – goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and mistaken identity.”
Providing the tests go well, VARs could become a permanent fixture in 2018 or 2019.
Major League Soccer will be participating in the tests, alongside other leagues in Germany and Austria. The technology will also be used during soccer competitions in Brazil, the Netherlands, and Portugal.