The controversial Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is to be used in the Euro 2020 play-offs and in qualification for World Cup 2022 in Qatar, European football’s governing body UEFA confirmed. However, VAR will not be deployed during Euro 2020 qualifying matches.
The Video Assistant Referee or commonly known as VAR is a refereeing tool that allows the arbiter to make decisions using video replays. It is used by officials to constantly check “clear and obvious” errors behind the scenes and “serious missed incidents” to be corrected right away. It is composed of a team made up of one lead video official and three assistants that has access to all 33 broadcast cameras inside the stadium, of which 12 are slow-motion.
Historically, the VAR was developed and first tested in the Netherlands as part of the Refereeing 2.0 project under the direction of the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) in the early 2010s. The live trial began in August 2016 under the new FIFA President Gianni Infantino just a year after the then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter strongly disapproved the said new technology in football.
It was officially trialed in an international scene at the 2017 Confederations Cup before being used at the World Cup in Russia the following year. After a series of test, it was officially included in the rules of the game of football by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in 2018.
The VAR system was introduced in some top flight European football leagues including Champions and Europa League last term until the present with numerous controversies and issues involving the inaccuracy and inconsistency of the said technology ballooned during its deployment. This technology, as told by contending players and coaches was also deemed unnecessary as it is only “creating as much confusion as clarity.”
Following the conclusion of the Euro 2020 qualification, UEFA, European football’s governing body has announced that VAR will be deployed only in the play-offs matches that will happen on March 27 to April 1 (GMT+8). It means the video assistant referee will be on hand when the Republic of Ireland travels to face Slovakia for their semi-final clash on 27 March. This technology wasn’t used during the group stage of the qualifications.