VAR has brought precision and accuracy, enabling referees leverage over minor errors in game but it has also been at the center of match controversies.
From fans, players, and coaches, VAR complaints and contentions have been a regular phenomenon, with many questioning its place in the game.
Now, a new development that will make VAR decisions more credible and help sieve out noises and agitations during games has been confirmed.
According to International Football Association Board (IFAB), a successful trial in Morocco will see the new approach rolled out at other Fifa competitions, including this summer’s Women’s World Cup.
Meanwhile, a temporary trial in the Premier League next season has been ruled out.
During a meeting by Ifab at Wembley on Wednesday 18th January, 2022, the new approach to VAR was discussed after world players’ union Fifpro made a request to that effect, including the World Leagues Forum.
The two bodies asked that the protocol should be put to test in the English top flight, Ligue 1 in France and Major League Soccer in the United States.
This new development follows the growing frustration from benign VAR decisions that are sometimes shocking and innexplicable.
The referees will now have to explain VAR decisions during games to both the fans, players, and the coaching crew instead of just passing summary orders after VAR reviews.
Now, to bring the new development to fruition, a 12-month trial around stadium communication at Fifa events is reportedly set to begin at the Club World Cup – which takes place from 1-11 February.
If successful, it will be adopted in the men’s Under-20 World Cup in Indonesia in May and then the women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
However, the choice language in which the VAR decision is yet to be decided, and there are projections it may likely be in Morocco, Arabic or English.
While football is little behind other major sports in explaining officiating decisions, National Football League (NFL) has adopted the approach and has reportedly boosted the credibility of the game among its fans.
Same is expected in football as clarity of referees’ VAR decisions will help stem incessant match and post-match controversies.
IFAB canvasses for a measured injury time
Ifab is also canvassing for widespread adoption of the new injury time policy that was successfully implemented in the 2022 World Cup, where matches last for more than 100 minutes.
The move is to ensure the time the ball is in play goes up and also helped checkmate intentional delays by teams and players which is a cheat to the opponent.
Essentially that means timing injury delays and adding that precise figure at the end of a match rather than a rough idea of the total time will be relayed as guidance to all domestic competitions from next season.
This could mean more injury time added, but it is believed unnecessary and intentional delays by players who feign injury will drastically go down while the time the ball is in play goes up. Hence, excessive injury time is still not possible. Once there is no incentive to stay down, we think there will be less injury-time.
IFAB weighs in on offside controversy
The group also urge for
guidance around offside decisions, including the issue of players interfering and obstructing play in the process.
The controversy around Manchester United’s equalising goal against Manchester City on Saturday was discussed and it was felt there is a loophole in the law that needs to be addressed.