Football’s lawmakers on Saturday approved video assistant referee technology (VAR) for this summer’s World Cup, in one of the biggest changes to the sport in years.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB), meeting in Zurich, rubber-stamped a move already backed by FIFA’s top brass.
“We came to the conclusion that VAR is good for football”, FIFA president Gianni Infantino told reporters shortly after IFAB announced the decision.
VAR can only be used when there is doubt surrounding any of four key game-changing situations —goals, penalty decisions, straight red cards or mistaken identity.
It has already been implemented in top European leagues including the German Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A along with tests in multiple other leagues.
But opinion is still divided.
Players and managers have complained of referees being too eager to defer to technology, while fans in stadiums have been left in the dark as to why decisions are being made.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said this week that European football’s governing body would not introduce VAR in next season’s Champions League due to ongoing “confusion” surrounding its use.