Russia hopes to use video assistant referee in league play, says Vitaly Mutko

Soccer governing body FIFA has already said it would like to use video assistant referees in the 2018 World Cup, and soccer's lawmaking body IFAB is expected to decide next March whether to authorise their use in the game on a permanent basis.

By: Reuters | Kazan | Published:June 24, 2017 10:19 pm
Russia Football Union, Vitaly Mutko, FIFA, Video Assistant Referee, Gianni Infantino Vitaly Mutko said the VAR technology was “pricey” but that Russia was ready to implement it. (Source: Reuters)

The president of Russia’s Football Union, deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko, said on Saturday that the country was in talks with FIFA on using the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology at some of its stadiums.

VAR, which uses two video assistant referees who monitor the action on screens and call the match referee’s attention to mistakes or omissions, is being tested at four Russian stadiums hosting the Confederations Cup.

Soccer governing body FIFA has already said it would like to use video assistant referees in the 2018 World Cup, and soccer’s lawmaking body IFAB is expected to decide next March whether to authorise their use in the game on a permanent basis.

“I have asked FIFA to leave the system at the four stadiums and FC Krasnodar has asked for it as well,” Mutko told reporters in Kazan ahead of Russia’s final Confederations Cup group stage match against Mexico.

Mutko said the VAR technology was “pricey” but that Russia was ready to implement it. “We are at the stage of talks about how to do this,” Mutko said. “Our specialists are working with FIFA specialists on this. There are things to think about, but overall the system gives more objectivity and more confidence to each team.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said last week he was “extremely happy” with its use at the Confederations Cup, but it has stirred much debate and controversy in some matches. Video review denied Chile a legitimate-looking goal in their 2-0 win against Cameroon last week, and it was used again at the end of the match to overturn a linesman’s offside call.

The technology was also used to book three players involved in a brawl in Mexico’s match against New Zealand on Wednesday during a long video review in stoppage time.

Some managers have raised concerns over its use at the tournament. Portuguese coach Fernando Santos said the use of video assistant referees was “a bit confusing” after his side’s opening goal was ruled out in their 2-2 draw against Mexico last week.

“In my point of view, you have to look at the other aspects: the game, the show, the pace, the rhythm,” Santos told reporters on Friday. “That’s something that will be discussed in the right place, at the right time by those in charge.”

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