Meaning of VAR

What is VAR:

VAR is a video refereeing system used in football to prevent the main referee from making an incorrect decision in the face of an action that generates doubt or controversy, which can affect the final result of the game.

VAR corresponds to acronyms derived from English video assistant referee, whose translation is "video assistant referee".

The purpose of the VAR is to avoid or correct human errors that the main referee may commit when issuing a sanction on a play, especially in situations that are unclear or confusing.

In these cases, the main referee communicates through a headset with the VAR, which is made up of one or more assistant referees who are in a room with several television screens where they can repeatedly observe the controversial play. .

On these screens a recording of the action in question is transmitted, which has been captured from different angles and can be better analyzed.

This makes it possible to make a much more complete and detailed analysis by the assistant referees who are in the room, who are the ones who advise the main referee about the best decision to make. However, the final word is up to the head referee.

The VAR can only be used in four cases in which a football match is interrupted, such as: goals, penalties, direct expulsions and identity confusion.

The implementation of the VAR was approved in 2016 by the IFAB (International Football Association Board), with the aim of correcting the mistakes made by the main referees. Upon approval, FIFA (Fédération Internacionales de Football Association) established a two-year trial period.

The first match in which VAR was put into practice was in the semi-final of the Club World Cup, a match played between Kashima Antlers from Japan and Atlético Nacional from Colombia.

In this case, the main referee, the Hungarian Viktor Kassai requested the assistance of the VAR with which he finally yielded a penalty to the Japanese team.

Its implementation was established from the realization of the Soccer World Cup, which took place in Russia in 2018.

With the application of the VAR, it is possible to correct or avoid arbitration errors that, in the past, affected, in one way or another, the results of innumerable football matches.

When to use the VAR

Below are the four situations in which the VAR can be used.

  • Goals: the function of the VAR or video assistant is to serve as support and help the main referee to determine if there was any infraction that made it impossible to concede a goal, either because the ball did not cross the line, there was an advanced position, among others.
  • Penalties: VAR avoids making an incorrect decision when awarding or denying a penalty to a team.
  • Direct expulsions or red cards: sometimes they can be an unfair penalty, for this reason the VAR is used, in this way you can avoid both non-corresponding expulsions and confirm the correct penalties.
  • Identity confusion: in cases where the referee does not caution or sanction the player who is due, the VAR assistant referees have to inform the head referee so that the correct player is cautioned.
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