World Cup 2018 - VAR Technology

As we edge closer to the 2018 Fifa World Cup, VAR technology continues to be a hot topic amongst the soccer world. Both sides (for and against) are beefing up their opinions and comments on the need for it and reasons to abandon the technology. My opinion is for the technology.

Fifa’s chief commercial officer, Philippe Le Floc’h, gave an interview with the Associated Press in which he said:

Definitely VAR will happen,


It’s great to have technology in football because this is also a fairness thing.

I, myself, is for the technology. Primarily because the powers that control the game, do not want to add more officiating to the game, technology needs to fill the void of getting certain calls right. Especially with the decisive calls like: red cards, penalties and goals. It’s important to utilize this technology to ensure the results are fair and no team is cheated out of the opportunity to win the game. Unlike other sports, soccer has rules in place that give the offense a disadvantage which make goals hard to come by. Soccer also has a field that requires referees to cover a lot of ground and add the speed of the game, it’s nearly impossible for referees to get all of the calls correct. And even though some of the results of the VAR technology are not impressive (see below from The Guardian), with machine learning entering an area of promise, I don't doubt that VAR technology can officiate the entire game in the next 10 years.

Below is some information posted by The Guardian:

In the findings presented to Ifab, the academics made several statistical observations about the technology which allows referees to ask to review key moments in a match on video. Included among the observations the academics found that only 31.2% of matches during the trial called for the use of VAR. In those games, 56.9% of checks were for goals and penalty incidents (referees are also allowed to consult on red card decisions and matters of mistaken identity). The median length of time taken to check with VAR was 20 seconds and the median when a decision to take a full review was a minute. VAR was found to have a decisive impact in just 8% of all matches studied, but it was found also not to have corrected a “clear and obvious error” in 5% of matches.

Ifab’s recommendation at the meeting chaired by Zvonimir Boban, Fifa’s deputy secretary general, was widely expected. Final approval is now likely a formality and executives from Fifa have already spoken about the prospect of the technology being used in Russia this summer.

The final decision on whether VAR is approved for use at the World Cup will be made by IFAB, football's rule-making body, at their annual meeting on March 2. (A minimum of six votes are needed to pass any laws of the game)

IFAB consists of FIFA and the four British associations (the FA, SFA, IFA and FAW). FIFA has four votes and the British FAs have one vote each.

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