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LaLiga and RFEF chiefs to bring VAR to Spanish football


Now there's a certain level of harmony between the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga - made possible by the fact that Ángel María Villar is out and not expected to return - the video assistant referee (VAR) system is appearing on the horizon in Spain. Villar was radically against VAR and, even more than that, any sort of agreement with Javier Tebas. But with Juan Luis Larrea now acting RFEF chief, things are different. Larrea and Tebas get on; it might even be suggested that the LaLiga boss would be happy for the RFEF crisis to be resolved by kicking the can down the road and keeping Larrea in the post he currently occupies on an interim basis. The man Tebas doesn't like at all is players' union boss Luis Rubiales. He tends to say he doesn't have a preferred candidate, but that he is against him.

New-found RFEF-LaLiga harmony made evident by VAR talks

The harmony between Larrea and Tebas is particularly evidenced by the red carpet being rolled out at RFEF HQ for talks on implementing VAR. Among those also there were Antonio López Nieto (who represents LaLiga on the RFEF's referee designation panel), Carlos Velasco Carballo (acting as a liaison to FIFA), and Spanish refereeing chiefs Manuel Díaz Vega and Rafael Sánchez Arminio. The plan is to start off by trialling VAR in Copa del Rey games and possibly the odd LaLiga match too, although discreetly so. First, though - as Diario AS's resident former ref Eduardo Iturralde González has at times pointed out in this newspaper - the three-person teams tasked with manning the TV screens have to be selected and trained up. As for the system, it'll be put out to tender among approved providers.

Even Piqué and Florentino agree when it comes to VAR...

I can't say I'm mad keen on VAR; but the Spanish football world is now crying out for its introduction. More and more are focusing their complaints about refereeing on the need to give match officials a helping hand by using the system. That's been the view of figures as diametrically opposed, for example, as Gerard Piqué and Florentino Pérez. Meanwhile, the case for VAR will also be aided by the natural technophilia of our age, not to mention the money to be made from it and the job prospects it'll give ex-refs. In incidents that are an objective call, such as 'ghost' goals, I feel technology is necessary. In those moments whose interpretation is subjective, however, it'll lead to plenty of controversy. Indeed, it already has. Either way: it's a reality that's on its way, and I imagine it'll be here to stay.