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Football rules body IFAB approve use of VAR at World Cup

The controversial Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system looks set to be used at the World Cup in Russia after international rules body IFAB gave it their backing on Saturday.

Football rules body IFAB approve use of VAR at World Cup
JOHN SIBLEY Action Images via Reuters

The use of video replays to help referees make key decisions was approved by soccer's rule-making body IFAB on Saturday, opening the way for the system to be used at this year's World Cup.

Soccer's world governing body FIFA has said the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system will be used at the World Cup in Russia if approved (a vote will be held on March 16 by members), while its European counterpart has said it will not be deployed in next season's Champions League.

Critics say VAR has led to confusion in competitions where it has been used, especially for spectators in stadiums who are often unaware that a decision is being reviewed.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) statement described the move as an "historic step for greater fairness in football."

Four situations

According to IFAB protocols, VAR should only be used in four key cases: goals, penalties, direct red cards and mistaken identity.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 19, 2017 players wait for a decision on a goal by video assistanted referees during the 2017 Confederations Cup group B football match between Australia and Germany at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi.

A trained referee with access to a video monitor, and in constant communication with the main match official, checks all such decisions.

If a "clear and obvious" mistake is spotted, the incident can be reviewed and changed. The referee, who has access to a pitchside monitor, can also initiate a review himself.

The implementation of the VAR system has been one of FIFA president Gianni Infantino's main projects since he was elected in February 2016.