Following extensive trialling in a number of major competitions, VARs were first written into the Laws of the Game by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in 2018. Operating under the philosophy of "minimal interference, maximum benefit", the VAR system seeks to provide a way for "clear and obvious errors" and "serious missed incidents" to be corrected.
There are 4 categories of decisions that can be reviewed:
The VAR team, stationed in the video operation room (VOR), automatically checks every on-field referee decision falling under the four reviewable categories. If the VAR does not identify any mistake during the check, this is communicated to the referee. This is called a "silent check" and requires no further action, usually not causing any delay to the game. At other times, a VAR check may cause the game to be delayed while the VAR ascertains whether or not a possible mistake has occurred. The referee may delay the restart of play for this to occur, and indicates an ongoing check by pointing to their ear.
Where the VAR does identify a possible clear and obvious error, there are three possible scenarios:
A decision can generally be overturned without an OFR where it relates to a factual matter. For example, offside decisions or whether a foul occurred inside or outside the penalty area can be determined by the VAR to the referee without a review. An OFR is generally recommended where there is a subjective decision to make, such as whether a foul was committed in the first place or whether a red card is warranted for a certain offence. In all cases, the final decision rests with the referee, and they can choose to ignore the advice of the VAR altogether.
An OFR can only be conducted on the recommendation of the VAR. This ensures that the referee always makes an on-field ruling and does not rely on OFRs for every close decision. An OFR can be conducted when the ball is out of play, or where the referee stops play for the express purpose of conducting one.
The referee signals an OFR by making the outline of a rectangle, indicating a video screen. The OFR takes place in a designated referee review area (RRA), adjacent to the field of play and in public view to ensure transparency. Slow motion replays are only used to establish point of contact for physical offences and handball, while full-speed replays are shown to determine the intensity of an offence or whether a handball occurred in the first place. During an OFR, the VAR transmits several video replays from different camera angles to allow the referee to make their decision.
Once an OFR is completed, the referee makes the TV signal again, before indicating the decision made. If the ball was out of play, it restarts with either the original decision or the new decision if the on-field one was changed. If play was stopped to conduct an OFR and the decision was not changed, a dropped ball occurs.
A number of offences relating to the VAR process are codified within the Laws of the Game. Both players and team officials excessively making the TV signal are cautioned. Any player or team official entering the RRA are also cautioned. Finally, entering the VOR will cause a player or team official to be sent off.
A number of technical terms and abbreviations are used in reference to the VAR system. These include:
VAR was conceived by the Refereeing 2.0 project in the early 2010s, under the direction of the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB). The system was tested through mock trials during the 2012–13 season of the Eredivisie, the country's top football league. In 2014, the KNVB petitioned the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to amend its laws of the games to allow the system to be used during more extensive trials. The IFAB approved trials and a pathway to full implementation during its 2016 general meeting. Lukas Brud, IFAB secretary, said "With all the 4G and Wi-Fi in stadia today...we knew we had to protect referees from making mistakes that everyone can see immediately", such as Thierry Henry’s handball that eliminated Ireland from qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup where the on-field referees were not in a position to view the infraction. Then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who was strongly against introducing new technology in football, was forced out of his post due to a corruption scandal in 2015, and the VAR proposal received a warm reception under his successor Gianni Infantino.
A live trial of the VAR system began in August 2016 with a United Soccer League match between two Major League Soccer reserve sides. Match referee Ismail Elfath reviewed two fouls during the match and, after consultation with video assistant referee Allen Chapman, decided to issue a red card and a yellow card in the respective incidents. Video reviews were introduced the following month during an international friendly between France and Italy. A "pitchside monitor" was introduced at the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup, allowing referees to review footage from the field.
The A-League in Australia became the first to use a VAR system in a top flight professional club competition on 7 April 2017, when Melbourne City played Adelaide United though this game was completed without the VAR being called upon. The first intervention by a VAR in a professional league game was seen on 8 April when Wellington Phoenix hosted Sydney FC. The VAR identified an illegal handball in the penalty area and awarded Sydney FC a penalty. The game finished in a 1–1 draw. Major League Soccer in the United States introduced VARs in competitive matches during its 2017 season after the 2017 MLS All-Star Game on 2 August 2017. Its first official use came during a match between the Philadelphia Union and FC Dallas, invalidating a goal from the latter over contact made between a Dallas player and Philadelphia's goalkeeper. VAR was used at an international level in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in June, where it was praised but its usefulness was questioned after a referee decision in the final match.
The VAR system was introduced in top flight European football by Bundesliga and the Serie A at the beginning of the 2017–18 season and by La Liga at the beginning of the 2018–19 season. The system was also used at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in October. On 8 January 2018, VAR was trialled for the first time in England in the 2017–18 FA Cup game between Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace., and the following day it was trialled for the first time in France in the Côte d'Azur derby game in the 2017–18 French League Cup. It was said to have worked well.
On 3 March 2018, the IFAB wrote the VARs into the Laws of the Game on a permanent basis.  Their use remains optional for competitions, and the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League were not expected to implement VAR for their 2018–19 season. However Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore has described it as "inevitable" that VAR will be introduced to the Premier League. On 27 September 2018, UEFA announced that from the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League season, VARs will be used in the competition. Although VAR was not implemented in the group stages of the 2018–19 season, UEFA announced on 3 December 2018, that VAR would be used in the knockout stages, which commenced in February 2019.
On 15 November 2018, Premier League teams voted in principle to bring Video Assistant Referees to the Premier League from the 2019–20 season onwards pending approval of IFAB and FIFA; this comes after a controversial decision from referee Simon Hooper to disallow a goal scored by Southampton F.C. striker Charlie Austin.
FIFA officially approved the use of VAR for the 2018 FIFA World Cup during the FIFA Council meeting on 16 March 2018 in Bogotá. This tournament became the first competition to use VAR in full (at all matches and in all venues).
The 2018 World Cup marked the system's World Cup debut. A total of 335 incidents were checked by the VAR over the course of the group stage, averaging seven per match, and fourteen calls made by referees were changed or overruled after being reviewed by the VAR. According to FIFA, the VAR system had a success rate of 99.3 percent, up from the 95 percent of correct calls by referees without VAR. The first VAR decision at the World Cup came on 16 June in a group stage match between France and Australia, where referee Andres Cunha awarded a penalty to France after consulting with the VAR. In the final, referee Néstor Pitana used the VAR to review a defensive foul for handling in the penalty area, awarding France a penalty, which gave them a 2–1 lead over Croatia. The final eventually ended with France prevailing 4–2.
The use of VAR has been credited with assisting the 2018 edition's status as the cleanest World Cup since 1986, after no red cards were issued in the opening 11 games and only four players were sent off in the entire tournament which was the fewest since 1978. 22 goals were scored from 29 awarded penalty kicks, beating the previous record of 17 penalty kick goals set in the 1998 tournament; the dramatic increase in the number of penalties awarded at the 2018 World Cup has been attributed to VAR catching fouls which would otherwise have remained unpunished. IFAB technical director and former Premier League referee David Elleray stated a belief that the presence of VAR meant that players would know that they would not be able to get away with anything under the new system.
The use of video technology at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup was criticised after several contentious moments involving VAR at the tournament. It was accused of "creating as much confusion as clarity".
Further criticism was leveled at VAR after it suffered issues preventing its use, for example in a Portuguese match where a supporter's flag had been obscuring the VAR camera, or in the 2018 A-League Grand Final between Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory where the VAR software suffered a technical malfunction which prevented the assistant referee from viewing the replay.
After the introduction of VAR in the 2018 World Cup, FIFA deemed it a success. Nevertheless, the use (or lack of use) of VAR has been criticised. Independent assessments note that while most decisions were made correctly as a result of VAR, some were wrong despite VAR review and some decisions which were called incorrectly were not even reviewed. The Guardian concludes that VAR has been most effective for factual decisions such as offsides and mistaken identities, while subjective decisions such as penalties or the disciplining of players have fared much worse. Lack of clarity and consistency are two main areas of weakness.
A problem in consistency at the 2018 World Cup was for example the different rulings in similar game situations, which could be explained by unclear interpretation of VAR rules. For instance, in the game between Portugal and Iran in the group stage, Iran got a penalty kick after a handball by Cedric Soares, while in the game between Nigeria and Argentina, Nigeria did not get this chance after Marcos Rojo headed the ball onto his own arm. In the case of Soares touch the ball directly with his arm, in the case or Rojo the ball is bad headed and in less of a milesime touch the defender arm. A better example can be use in this place
Another line of criticism has been targeted at the effectiveness of the system in achieving its goal. In the opinion of Scott Stinson from the National Post, VAR, like any other replay system, fails to correct human error and instead only adds to the controversies because human judgment is still necessary. Lack of transparency is another contentious point, as teams have no way to know which incidents were reviewed by the VAR team. At a press conference held after the group stage, FIFA referees committee chairman Pierluigi Collina showed footage of the decision-making process accompanied with audio of the conversations between VAR officials and the referees. Asked if this audio could be made publicly available, as it is in rugby and cricket, Collina answered enthusiastically but cautioned that it might still be too early.
Others have pointed to the game-changing nature of VAR. Initial fears that using the system would lengthen the game considerably have not been confirmed, with every VAR review taking up an average of only 80 seconds. The dramatic increase in the number of penalties awarded at the 2018 World Cup has been attributed to VAR catching fouls which would otherwise have remained unpunished. Of the 169 goals scored in the tournament, 22 were from penalty kicks (with 29 being awarded in total), beating the previous record of 17 set in the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Jonathan Liew of The Independent compares the situation to the introduction of the Decision Review System in cricket and notes the changes it had on that sport, and suggests that it might lead to changes of a similar nature in football.
In February 2019, UEFA issued guidance which stated that players who made a 'TV-screen' hand gesture should result in a yellow card. "Excessively using the 'review' (TV screen) signal" is now listed as a caution for which a player may receive a yellow card in the Laws of the Game.
Competitions which include VAR confirmed matches are "live" matches, i.e. where the VARs have contact with the referee on the field of play and therefore may have an impact on the decision making.
(*)Not all matches
All of a sudden, VAR had been revealed to be just like any other replay system: a process meant to reduce the number of controversies by correcting human error was now only adding to the controversies because there was still human judgment involved. And no replay could render that judgment infallible.
The confederation says it wants to know whether the plays were reviewed in any way, saying "transparency is of essence."
The 2017 Belgian Super Cup was a football match that took place on 22 July 2017 between Anderlecht, winners of the 2016–17 Belgian First Division A and Zulte Waregem, winners of the 2016–17 Belgian Cup. For the first time in Belgian football, a video assistant referee was used to review decisions during the match.2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Group B
Group B of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup took place from 18 to 25 June 2017. It consisted of Cameroon, Chile, Australia, and Germany. The top two teams, Germany and Chile, advanced to the semi-finals.2018 A-League Grand Final
The 2018 A-League Grand Final was the thirteenth A-League Grand Final, played on 5 May 2018. The match took place at McDonald Jones Stadium, with Newcastle Jets hosting Melbourne Victory, the first A-League grand final held outside a metropolitan city.2018 FA Cup Final
The 2018 FA Cup Final was the final match of the 2017–18 FA Cup and the 137th final of the FA Cup, the world's oldest football cup competition. It was played at Wembley Stadium in London, England on 19 May 2018 between Manchester United and Chelsea. It was the second successive final for Chelsea following their defeat by Arsenal the previous year.
As winners, Chelsea qualified for the group stage of the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League, although they had qualified for that phase already via their league position. Chelsea also earned the right to play 2017–18 Premier League champions Manchester City for the 2018 FA Community Shield.
The teams had met twice before in the FA Cup Final, winning one each between them. The first was in 1994, which Manchester United won 4–0, and most recently in 2007, when Chelsea – then managed by the incumbent Manchester United boss José Mourinho – won 1–0 after extra time.
On 24 April 2018, it was announced that Michael Oliver would officiate the match. It was notable for being the first Final to use the video assistant referee (VAR) system. As President of the Football Association, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge would normally attend the final, presenting the trophy to the winning captain at the conclusion of the game. In 2018 however, the final was scheduled for the same day as his brother's wedding, for which he was serving as best man. It was announced on 15 May 2018 that the trophy would be presented by Jackie Wilkins, the widow of former Manchester United and Chelsea player Ray Wilkins, who died in April 2018.2019 FIFA Women's World Cup knockout stage
The knockout stage of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup was the second and final stage of the competition, following the group stage. It began on 22 June with the round of 16 and ended on 7 July with the final match, held at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Décines-Charpieu. A total of 16 teams (the top two teams from each group, along with the four best third-placed teams) advanced to the knockout stage to compete in a single-elimination style tournament.All times listed are local, CEST (UTC+2).2019 UEFA Nations League Finals
The 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals was the final tournament of the 2018–19 edition of the UEFA Nations League, the inaugural season of the international football competition involving the men's national teams of the 55 member associations of UEFA. The tournament was held in Portugal from 5 to 9 June 2019, and was contested by the four group winners of Nations League A. The tournament consisted of two semi-finals, a third place play-off, and final to determine the inaugural champions of the UEFA Nations League.
Portugal won the final 1–0 against the Netherlands to become the first champions of the UEFA Nations League.2019 UEFA Super Cup
The 2019 UEFA Super Cup will be the 44th edition of the UEFA Super Cup, an annual football match organised by UEFA and contested by the reigning champions of the two main European club competitions, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. The match will feature two English sides, Liverpool, the winners of the 2018–19 UEFA Champions League, and Chelsea, the winners of the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League. The match will be played at Vodafone Park in Istanbul, Turkey on 14 August 2019. The match will be the first all-English UEFA Super Cup, and the eighth overall Super Cup to feature two teams from the same country.
For the first time, the video assistant referee (VAR) system will be used in the UEFA Super Cup.2019–20 2. Bundesliga
The 2019–20 2. Bundesliga will be the 46th season of the 2. Bundesliga. It will begin on 26 July 2019 and will conclude on 17 May 2020.Following an offline test phase in the previous season, the video assistant referee system will be used for the first time in the 2. Bundesliga.2019–20 UEFA Champions League
The 2019–20 UEFA Champions League is the 65th season of Europe's premier club football tournament organised by UEFA, and the 28th season since it was renamed from the European Champion Clubs' Cup to the UEFA Champions League.
The final will be played at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey. The winners of the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League will earn the right to play against the winners of the 2019–20 UEFA Europa League in the 2020 UEFA Super Cup; they will also qualify for the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar. They will also automatically qualify for the 2020–21 UEFA Champions League group stage, and if they have already qualified through their league performance, the berth reserved will be given to the champions of the 2019–20 Eredivisie, the 11th-ranked association according to next season's access list.
The video assistant referee (VAR) system will be used in the competition from the play-off round onwards.Liverpool are the defending champions.Abdulrahman Al-Jassim
Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (born 14 October 1987) is a Qatari football referee who has been a full international referee for FIFA since 2013.
He was one of the referees for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea.Al-Jassim was appointed to be a Video Assistant Referee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.Al-Jassim was also appointed to be a referee at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.In June 2019 it was announced that Al-Jassim would referee in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup as part of a referee exchange program between CONCACAF and the AFC, which had previously seen César Arturo Ramos of Mexico referee in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.Allen Chapman
Allen Chapman (born August 18, 1974) is an American soccer referee and member of PRO. He lives in Utah.Chapman regularly referees matches for Major League Soccer, and has done so since 2012.
During an August 2016 USL match in New Jersey, Chapman became the first video assistant referee to be used during a professional match.Chapman is also a former player and coach. He played professionally for the Arizona Sahuaros between 2000 and 2002.Andrés Cunha
Andrés Ismael Cunha Soca (born 8 September 1976) is an international football referee from Montevideo, Uruguay. He has been a FIFA-listed referee since 2013 and has refereed a number of major matches in Copa Libertadores and Copa América. Cunha has also refereed matches in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Korea Republic. During international matches, his assistant referees are Nicolás Taran and Mauricio Espinosa. At the domestic level, Cunha regularly referees matches in the Uruguayan Primera División.
Cunha officiated the 2018 FIFA World Cup match between France and Australia on 16 June, where he awarded a penalty kick after consultation with Mauro Vigliano, the video assistant referee. The incident marked the first time a penalty had been awarded after consultation with the VAR in a World Cup match.Assistant referee (association football)
In association football, an assistant referee (AR, known as a linesman or lineswoman before 1996, expressions which are still in common unofficial use) is an official empowered with assisting the referee in enforcing the Laws of the Game during a match. Although assistants are not required under the Laws, at most organised levels of football the match officiating crew consists of the referee and at least two assistant referees. The responsibilities of the various assistant referees are listed in Law 6, "The Other Match Officials". In the current Laws the term "assistant referee" technically refers only to the two officials who generally patrol the touchlines, with the wider range of assistants to the referee given other titles.
The assistant referees' duties generally consist of judging when the ball has left the field of play – including which team is entitled to return the ball to play, judging when an offside offence has occurred, and advising the referee when an infringement of the Laws has occurred out of his or her view. These two officials are typically positioned on opposite touchlines, and each stay beside different halves of the pitch.
At higher levels of play the referee is also assisted by a fourth official. The fourth official's duties are usually administrative in nature, such as supervising the substitution procedures, and he or she will generally spend the game in the vicinity of the teams' technical areas.
Competition rules will mandate procedures for replacing officials who are unable to continue. Often, the fourth official will replace the referee or one of the assistant referees if they are unable to continue. The Laws also allow for designated reserve assistant referees who have no other responsibilities unless called upon to replace a member of the officiating team who is unable to continue.At very high-level games there may be further assistant referees. Additional assistant referees are positioned to observe incidents near the two goals. Video assistant referees view footage of the game and can advise the referee to review decisions that may have been incorrect.The referee is the sole arbiter of the Laws during the match. Assistants' calls and judgements are considered to be advisory and can be overruled by the referee.Bakary Gassama
Bakary Papa Gassama (born 10 February 1979) is a Gambian football referee. Gassama became a FIFA referee in 2007. He officiated at the 2012 Olympic tournament, in which he was the fourth official for the gold medal match between Mexico and Brazil.
He also served as a referee at the 2012 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.In March 2013, FIFA named Gassama as one of the fifty potential referees for the 2014 World Cup. On 15 January 2014, FIFA announced that he would be one of the 25 referees for the tournament. His assistants were announced to be Evarist Menkouandé and Felicien Kabanda. He officiated the third group stage match in group B between the Netherlands and Chile on 23 June 2014. He officiated the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Final match on 8 February 2015 between Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.
On 27 April 2017, Gassama was selected as CAF's sole referee for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. His assistants were announced to be Jean Claude Birumushahu (Burundi) and Marwa Range (Kenya), and his video assistant referee was appointed to be Malang Diedhiou (Senegal). His only match at the competition was the Group A match between Mexico and New Zealand on 21 June 2017.On 29 March 2018, FIFA announced that he will officiate some matches at 2018 FIFA World Cup along with Jean-Claude Birumushahu and Marwa Range as assistant referees.Danny Makkelie
Danny Desmond Makkelie (born 28 January 1983) is a Dutch football referee. He has been a FIFA listed referee since 2011 and took charge of the final of the 2012 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship as a UEFA Elite referee.A former police officer in South Holland, he has worked full time for the Royal Dutch Football Association since 2010. He was selected to take part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup as a video assistant referee, including the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final
He made the controversial call as the Video Assistant Referee to retake the PK in the 2019 Women’s World Cup for both France-Nigeria Match and the Jamaica-Italy Match. Katja Koroleva
Ekaterina "Katja" Koroleva (born November 30, 1987) is an international football referee for the Professional Referee Organization from the United States.Koroleva officiates matches in the National Women's Soccer League and the United Soccer League as a referee, and in Major League Soccer as a Video Assistant Referee. Koroleva was the referee for the 2015 NWSL final in Portland, Oregon.In August 2016, Koroleva was appointed to be a referee at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan.In August 2018, Koroleva was appointed to referee at the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Uruguay.Koroleva was appointed to be an official at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France.Kris Griffiths-Jones
Kris Griffiths-Jones is an Australian football referee who currently officiates in the Hyundai A-League and the NSW Premier League. He made his A-League debut in the 2008-09 A-League season. He began his refereeing career with GDFRA (Granville District Football Referees Association), in the Western Suburbs of Sydney.
On 4 April 2017, Kris Griffiths-Jones was appointed as one of the inaugural Video assistant referee (VAR's) in the Hyundai A-League, the first top-tier football league in the world to implement the technology.Malang Diedhiou
Malang Diedhiou (born 30 April 1973) is an international football referee from Senegal. He has refereed matches in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. He was also a video assistant referee during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Diedhiou was also a referee in the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.Mauro Vigliano
Mauro Vigliano (born 5 August 1975) is an Argentine professional football referee. He has been a full international for FIFA since 2013. He refereed some matches in Copa Libertadores and a game between Ecuador and Peru in the 2018 Russia World Cup Qualifiers.
Vigliano was the video assistant referee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup match between France and Australia on 16 June. Andrés Cunha, the head referee, used the VAR system to award a penalty kick, which was scored by Antoine Griezmann. The incident marked the first time a penalty had been awarded after consultation with a VAR in a World Cup match.