Video assistance in football moved a step closer to becoming a reality after the IFAB agreed to live experiments with the technology.
The landmark decision was taken by the International Football Association Board (The IFAB) at its 130th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Cardiff, Wales, at the weekend.
The meeting, held at the St David’s Hotel and chaired by the President of the Football Association of Wales (FAW) David Griffiths, and attended by newly elected FIFA President, Gianni Infantino also saw the most substantial revision of the Laws of the Game get the green light.
For the use of video assistance, the IFAB approved in principle a detailed set of protocols for the experiments and agreed they should be conducted for a minimum of two years in order to identify the advantages, disadvantages and worst-case scenarios.
The set of protocols were drawn up by the IFAB’s Technical Sub-Committee, with support from FIFA’s Technology Innovation Department, and followed discussions with the Football Advisory Panel and Technical Advisory Panel as well as football associations, leagues, other sports and technology providers.
It’s expected the live experiments will be implemented for the 2017/18 season.
The trails are not expected to achieve 100% accuracy in decisions for every single incident, but rather to avoid clearly incorrect decisions that are pre-defined “game-changing” situations – goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and mistaken identity.
Speaking of the decision, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, said: “Today we have taken a historic decision for football.
“IFAB and FIFA are now leading the debate and not stopping the debate. We have shown that we are listening to the fans, to the players, to football and we are applying common sense.
“Of course, we have to be cautious and we are, but we are also open to looking at the matters and take concrete steps forward to show that a new era has started not only in FIFA but also in IFAB.
“I think we cannot close our eyes to the future, to technology. They are big tests that we are doing here and we have to be very careful when it comes to protecting the game of football and the flow of the game is crucial.
“We have to see what kind of impact video technology will have on the flow of the game which we can never put in danger. In order to be able to have serious discussions about these matters we need to test it.
“We need to look at it and then we will be able to take a decision on whether it is the right thing for football or not. We have to be open to tests and leading the discussion.
The IFAB agreed to allow one type of experiment, which will involve a video assistant referee having access to video replays during the match and either reviewing an incident on request by the referee, or communicating with the referee proactively about an incident that he/she may have missed (further information available here).
The experiments will be managed and overseen by The IFAB with the support of FIFA. A university will be selected to conduct a research study, which will focus not only on refereeing but also on the impact on the game itself, including the emotions of the stakeholders, in order to provide
The IFAB will meet with interested competition organisers and FIFA in the coming weeks in order to define a schedule for the next 24 months.
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