Football

Fifa admits video assistant referee system needs improvement

The video assistant referee (VAR) technology being tested at the Confederations Cup in Russia should be refined, Fifa's head of refereeing Massimo Busacca said on Monday.

VAR involves two video assistant referees who monitor the action on screens and draw the match referee's attention to officiating mistakes.

Fifa has already said it would like to use video assistant referees at next year's World Cup, and football's law-making body Ifab is expected to decide next March whether to allow them to become part of the game on a permanent basis.

In a news conference, Busacca said: "In general, we have really good results but, for sure ... Many aspects should be improved."

The use of VAR has caused confusion at the Confederations Cup, especially during Sunday's match between Germany and Cameroon when on-field official Wilmar Roldan needed two reviews of an incident to send off the correct Cameroon player.

TOO LONG

Cameroon coach Hugo Broos complained that he did not understand what was going on.

Busacca said: "I have to agree, it was too long... But, in the end, the right player was sent off."

There was also controversy when a video review denied Chile a legitimate-looking goal in their 2-0 win against Cameroon on June 18, and it was used again at the end of the same match to overturn a linesman's offside call and award Chile a goal.

But the main criticisms are the time taken to make decisions and the referees' criteria in deciding when to use the system, with some close calls being made without consulting the VAR.

Busacca accepted that reviews could take the gloss off goal celebrations.

"It can reduce at some moments the enjoyment of football because you have a celebration and then suddenly a review... So people have to live with this," he said.

In 12 group-stage matches at the Confederations Cup, video review helped correct six "game-changing decisions", Busacca said.

CLEAR MISTAKES

Match officials ruled correctly on another 29 "major incidents" with the help of the technology, he added.

"It's important to mention today that clear mistakes were not missed," he said.

Despite the controversy, Fifa president Gianni Infantino said he was extremely happy with its use at the tournament. 
- REUTERS

FootballWorld Cupreferees