FIFA: Video tech 'definitely' at World Cup, finding sponsor

ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 23, 2018 08:22 AM
FIFA: Video tech 'definitely' at World Cup, finding sponsor
FILE - In this Sunday, June 25, 2017 file photo, a giant screen reports an incident is being investigated by VAR (Video Assistant Referee) during the Confederations Cup, Group B soccer match between Germany and Cameroon, at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia. Football’s rules-making panel is advising FIFA to approve video review technology for referees before the World Cup. The panel, known as IFAB, says its technical experts made the recommendation Monday, Jan. 22, 2018 ahead of a March 2 meeting at FIFA which can decide. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, file)

By Rob Harris, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Video replays will be used at the World Cup for the first time and talks are underway with potential sponsor branding to appear when the technology is used, a FIFA executive said on Monday.

Soccer's rule-making panel met on Monday to assess recent trials ahead of video assistant referees (VAR) being officially approved by FIFA later this season for use in Russia in June and July.

"Definitely, VAR will happen," FIFA chief commercial officer Philippe Le Floc'h told The Associated Press. "It's great to have technology in football because this is also a fair(ness) thing."

Referees were assisted for the first time by high-tech aids at a World Cup in 2014 when goal-line technology was used. That system sees a message instantly flash on referees' watches saying only whether the ball crossed the line.

Video review is used when there is a "clear and obvious error" involving goals, penalty awards, red cards, and mistaken identity.

Replays could lead to delays in games in Russia as different angles are reviewed, presenting an opportunity for FIFA to brand up the segment on the global broadcast feed.

"We are talking to various technological companies who are very interested with what we are doing on the technology side of things," Floc'h said on board the World Cup trophy tour plane during a stop at London Stansted Airport.

The final decision on allowing replays to become part of the rules of the game falls to the International Football Association Board on March 3 when its annual meeting is held at FIFA.

Video review has been expected at the World Cup because FIFA controls half the votes in IFAB's decision. The other voters are the four British soccer federations.

Monday's meeting brought together IFAB technical experts, FIFA refereeing officials, and researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium, who have studied use of video review in 804 games across more than 20 competitions.

"The discussions we had today do not indicate that further experiments need to be conducted," said Johannes Holzmueller, FIFA's lead official for technological innovation.

IFAB's research showed one "clear and obvious error" in every three games for decisions involving goals, penalty awards, red cards, and mistaken identity.

That rate equates to 21 errors in a 64-game World Cup in Russia.

In the 804 competitive games, video review technology was decisive in 8 percent of them — the equivalent of five World Cup games.

The research suggested referees' accuracy in key decisions rose from 93 percent to 98.9 percent.

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