Northern Ireland v Korea Republic

VARs are here to stay...

yes there needs to be better communication and training of VARs and the match referees. But analysis of more than 800 live matches by a Belgian university shows a significant improvement in correct decisions being made by referees and an average of 90 seconds of additional time loss - much less than for throw-ins, for instance. The VAR is there to correct clear and obvious errors by referees and there are only four categories of match-changing decisions to be reviewed: goals; penalties (penalty or no penalty); red cards, and mistaken identity. Of course, nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. There is much work to do. The World Cup will be a huge test and FIFA are putting resource into training the VARs and referees so by June we should see the best available. Will everything go without difficulty? Probably not, and I don’t think we’ll be using VARs in Northern Ireland for some time yet. However, I think we should be expecting it at the highest level. No-one wants to be put out of the World Cup because of a bad penalty decision that possibly might be corrected by a VAR, do they? Anyway, I am sure William McCrum would have approved. Originators and innovators rarely want to rest on their laurels. Let’s embrace the future. William Campbell is a member of the IFAB Technical Sub-Committee

Surely there was no way that a system could be introduced which would allow the ebb and flow and not ruin our game with unnecessary delays? And yet, and yet, just as William McCrum had to face down his detractors, the IFAB Technical Director, former FIFA referee and Harrow House Master David Elleray, became the advocate, initiator and driving force behind the project. With the mission statement of ‘Minimum Interference - Maximum Benefit’, David alongside FIFA technical boffins and the technology providers has developed a workable process and a robust protocol spelling out how the system will work. Other associations had dabbled with the technology and the concept (particularly the KNVB in the Netherlands). Trial matches with the system working, but not live, were played and the lessons learned taken on board to refine and review the work. Expressions of interest from associations around the world were sought and workshops and seminars held across the globe in Zurich, London and New York. By the time IFAB considered the proposal some 40 associations were either actively using the system or considering doing so, from the Bundesliga to Serie A, in Australia and the MLS and latterly (and we all know about this from the media) in England. Yes, there are teething problems, yes at times there is confusion over what they are doing, and


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