Football

Infantino approves video referee trial

Fifa president Gianni Infantino rates the trial of new video referee technology at the Club World Cup a "positive" step towards its intended use at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"We've learnt a lot as there's nothing better than a competition to conduct testing," Infantino told Spanish sports daily Marca yesterday.

Infantino's backing for the Video Assistant Referee (Var) system came despite criticism from Colombia's Atletico Nacional after the first-ever penalty awarded under the technology helped knock them out of this month's event in Japan.

Real Madrid were also lukewarm after confusion around a Cristiano Ronaldo goal in another game.

Speaking before the final in Yokohama, Infantino said he hoped "the test results will be positive enough to be able to implement it at the next World Cup".

He defended the technology again, telling Marca it helped "avoid an event like the World Cup being decided by a serious error by the referee".

He cited the case of the spotkick awarded to Kashima Antlers against Atletico which the referee awarded only after being alerted by the video assistant.

And faulty communication was the root cause of the chaos which followed Ronaldo's late goal in a 2-0 win over Club America, when it appeared video technology could have ruled out the effort. Ronaldo's celebrations were briefly cut short before the goal was confirmed.

Infantino blamed the confusion on the video assistant pressing the intercom while consulting colleagues, confusing the match referee.

"We have to improve the way of communicating decisions to the fans in the stadium and to viewers at home," he said. - AFP

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