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LaLiga's referees get ready for VAR


As the start of the LaLiga season approaches, our referees are busy putting in hour upon hour of practice at using the video assistant referee (VAR) system. They've had the chance to build up VAR experience in many of the friendlies played on Spanish soil, in a manner similar to would-be pilots chalking up flying hours before being given their wings. Our domestic refereeing body doesn't actually have formal authorisation from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to introduce VAR yet, and in the meantime our officials are making sure to hone their skills as much as they can. It's expected that by 17 August, when our league campaign gets underway, we will have received that permission. Before then, of course we have the Super Cups, Spanish and European, in which there's to be no VAR.

Certainly won't be any VAR in Uefa Super Cup

At least, that's the certainly the case of the continental curtain-raiser, which sees a Spanish-capital derby between Real Madrid and Atlético. After all, VAR isn't used in Uefa club competition - that'll only happen when it is present in enough countries for the governing body to have a sufficiently large group of referees and assistants who are well versed in it. The situation Uefa finds itself in when it comes to the Champions League and Europa League isn't the same as that of Fifa and the World Cup: that's a tournament that requires relatively few officials, so they were able to come together for intensive training before this summer's finals in Russia. Uefa needs a much higher number of refs from many more nations. For now, it only has goalline technology, which is nothing like as high-maintenance.

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RFEF chief keen for Spanish Super Cup VAR if possible

As for Sunday's Spanish Super Cup, VAR wasn't in the plan. LaLiga head Javier Tebas had agreed with Juan Luis Larrea, who at the time was in interim charge of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), that it would come in in the top flight in 2018/19 but not until later in the Copa del Rey. However, new RFEF president Luis Rubiales is pro-VAR, and told me yesterday: "If there's the slightest possibility, we'll use it in [the Super Cup in] Tangier." He wants to modify the Tebas-Larrea deal and roll it out sooner in the Copa. Meanwhile, referees' chief Carlos Velasco Carballo is busy getting the officials in Segunda División trained up, having already got together with those in Primera. The plan is to have VAR in the second tier next term, and as soon as possible in LaLiga Iberdrola, the elite division of women's football.