Martin Glenn: FA chief executive says VAR will be used in England

Posted March 05, 2018

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.

Gianni Infantino, the Federation Internationale de Football Association president, also vowed to forge ahead with plans to use VAR at this summer's World Cup, even though he and his fellow IFAB voters conceded two years of trials had failed to eliminate some of the teething problems that saw it branded "an absolute shambles" during Tottenham Hotspur's FA Cup fifth-round replay win over Rochdale last week.

However, the introduction of the technology will most definitely prevent future occurrence of incidents like Maradona's "Hand of God" in the '86 World Cup final, and Frank Lampard's shot, which clearly crossed the line after hitting the crossbar, but was not given as a goal, in the last 16 stage of the 2010 World Cup against Germany.

Our position on VAR has been clear and consistent - just as it has been on goal-line technology.

"From the approximately thousand games that were part of the experiment, the level of accuracy of the decision-making increased from 93% to 99% - 99% of decisions were correct thanks to VAR", highlighted Infantino.

"There must now be a wider conversation between those of us at the Scottish FA, the SPFL and member clubs, which take into account any financial outlay and modifications to existing facilities that would have to be made before we can make a call on VAR's current suitability for the game in this country".

Still, Infantino also acknowledged on Saturday the VAR system "is not flawless".

VAR was used at the recent CHAN in Morocco, the Major League Soccer (MLS) in the United States of America, the FA Cup in England, among other major competitions.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) statement described the move as a "historic step for greater fairness in football". Goal-line systems are used at UEFA's European Championship and in the Premier League.

FIFA and all four British associations unanimously approved its use on permanent basis.

The potential use of video review was first announced on the eve of the World Cup in Brazil.

The landmark decision leaves much yet to be finalized, such as wording for the amended rules and an exact protocol for operating the system including how to communicate to fans using giant screens inside stadiums. It is also seeking a sponsor for video review at the World Cup.

There were additional decisions taken at the AGM, including allowing the option of an "additional" substitute to be used in extra time, as well as approving the use of electronic and communication equipment in the technical area (small handheld mobile devices), strictly for tactical/coaching purposes and player safety.