Learn how the VAR, the video referee that will be used in the World Cup

The video referee will be used in Russia for the first time in a World Cup and hopefully will help to reduce the amount of controversy during the World Cup. Like all news, however, this new method is still surrounded by mystery and many people are unsure how it works, who can trigger it or what kind of situations it can solve.

With that in mind, we came up with this little guide to tell you all about the World Cup video referee.


VAR is an acronym for video assistant referee or, in good Portuguese, assistant video referee. He is out of the field of play and his job is to assist the line judge in making decisions and reviewing some moves. Its use was approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in 2016, and it has been tested in over 20 tournaments since then, including the 2016 and 2017 Club World Cups and last year's Confederations Cup.

In the World Cup, the team will be composed of four professionals (referees, former referees, assistants or former assistants), one of them being the main video referee and the other three his assistants. In addition there will also be four other replay operators who will be responsible for selecting the best play angles for the VAR and its assistants.


Video referee team, assistants and replay operators.

How does VAR in the Cup work?

During the World Cup, the VAR will be in an out-of-stadium broadcast center receiving images from various cameras across the stadium, all capturing different angles of the game. The video referee can review some controversial moves and thereby provide information to the line referee through distance communication.

In addition, at the edge of the pitch, the head referee can bid on a monitor to make or review some of his decisions.

Who requests the process of reviewing a move?

The line referee or the VAR is responsible for initiating proceedings. Think of a move where the referee is unsure about not marking an offside in a move that resulted in a goal or foul within the area not seen by the referee or his field assistants. In the first case, the judge requests the review; In the second, the VAR can alert you to the irregularity.

Unlike other sports such as volleyball and tennis, bid review cannot be requested by players or coaches.

At what bids can the VAR be triggered?

The video referee can analyze four types of bids during a match:

  • Goals - Determine, for example, if there was an infringement or irregularity during a goal)
  • Penalty shootout - Ensure correctness (or not) of a penalty throw
  • Red cards - Inform the referee if a foul merits the maximum penalty
  • Player Identity Error - Assisting the referee to correctly identify the athlete who committed an infraction or scored a goal.

Remember that not every doubtful move can be resolved by the referee. According to FIFA, only clear errors and important incident bids not seen by the line referee or his court assistants can bring the VAR into play.

What is the review process like?

When the referee triggers the VAR (or vice versa), he puts his hand to his ear to indicate that he is communicating with the video judge. Should a review be required, he will signal a rectangle to indicate VAR interference, and then either make his decision based on the information provided by aides watching everything on TV or check it in person on a monitor positioned at the edge. of the lawn.

Who is up for the final bid decision?

This decision is always for the line referee. When he requests the review or is alerted to a clear error by the video referees, he can take into account the information provided by his colleagues, but he is always ultimately responsible for whether or not to validate a move, to mark a foul or not, and so on. go.

To ensure the transparency of the process, a FIFA official is positioned within the video room and has access to the referees' images and communications. He is also responsible for providing, in real time, information that appears on the official World Cup broadcast screen all decisions made by the referee in order to inform the public.


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Learn how VAR works, the video referee that will be used in the World Cup via TecMundo