Former Premier League referee David Elleray believes video assistant referees could be introduced to the game in time for next year’s World Cup in Russia.
Video Assistant Referees(VAR) have been tried out in some countries for some time now, and have proved satisfactory enough to be used in 2018, according to Elleray, who is currently the technical director for football’s law-making body International Football Association Board (IFAB).
The Times reported him as saying that live trials of the system have helped resolve issues in the system, and more countries have now signed up to take part in further testing. These early trials were held in Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States.
The outcome of these trials will be discussed when the IFAB meet for their annual general meeting in London. Footballing heavyweights such as France, Germany, and Mexico are already keen to look at the system themselves, the Daily Mail reported.
Elleray stated: “‘We are very happy with the progress that has been made. We have gone from almost nothing to more than a dozen countries, and we have already found out what we can do better.
“One or two things did not go so well at first but it would be a great shame if people get the idea that it is not going to work. It has so far worked better than a lot of people have anticipated.”
England’s FA is also interested in trials for video refereeing, and has decided to use it in next season’s FA Cup third round.
Elleray also spoke about England’s interest, by adding: “If the trials go well, FIFA would like to have the option to use it for the World Cup next year. England are also following this closely and may well become part of it in the future.”
VARs were used in a major football competition for the first time in December during the Club World Cup. It came into criticism when referees took a long time to award a Cristiano Ronaldo goal because they were unsure if he was offside or not.
In this context, Elleray added that more work is needed on educating officials on how to use the system. He also admitted that accuracy is more important than speed, and that fans will have to get used to breaks in the flow of the game so that more correct decisions are made.
Written by RVK. Tweet to get in touch with him.