FIFA president wants Video Assistant Referees for 2018 World Cup

Video Assistant Referees would represent a huge change in officiating for the Qatar World Cup.
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FIFA president Gianni Infantino is in favor of having Video Assistant Referees in place by the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Infantino made the comments to Le Parisien on Monday, making it a real possibility that at the World Cup, a referee inside of a van with access to video technology can advise a match official on calls that might have been missed.

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“We will multiply [the tests] over the two-year period and decide in March 2018,” Infantino said, according to Agence France-Presse. “I hope we will have video refereeing in time for the 2018 World Cup.”

Among the national federations currently testing or scheduled to soon begin testing VAR are the United States, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal and Qatar. According to FIFA earlier this month, “extraordinary progress” is being made.

“The key question will always be for any reviewable incident: ‘Was the referee’s decision clearly wrong?'” according to a FIFA statement.

“The over-riding philosophy, is ‘minimum interference, maximum benefit’ i.e. reviews will be rare, but when they do occur, they will be for the clear benefit of the game. It is important the game’s flow and emotions not be constantly interrupted by reviews.”

Infantino told Le Parisien he was initially concerned that video would slow down matches, “But I have come to the conclusion after tests that this is not the case.”