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Friday, 8 January 2016

Video assistance for referees by 2018/19

In March, there will be a 'strong recommendation' put before the powers who govern the rules of the game, the International Football Association Board. They are meeting in Cardiff in March (4th to 6th) and there will be a recommendation to introduce video assistance for referees for 2018/19 or 2019/20.

FIFA and the four home nations have discussed the issue and reached an agreement after discussions at the Royal Garden Hotel in London yesterday over the 'concept' of introducing video assistance. With FIFA and the home nations in agreement, it is thought there will be little objection to it finally being introduced.

The Dutch association has conducted unofficial trials with the International Football Association (IFAB) dragging its heels.

Jonathan Ford, chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, chaired an IFAB meeting with Stewart Regan (Scottish FA), Patrick Nelson (Irish FA), Martin Glenn (chief executive of the Football Association) and Markus Kattner (acting FIFA secretary-general) all present and being,advised by a member of the technical sub-committee and former FIFA referee David Elleray.

They reached unanimous agreement that testing needs to take place in different formats to assess the impacts it has. Jonathan Ford gave a brief explanation of the decision

“Full and extensive experimentation is needed so we can make a lasting decision once and for all. We are doing this specifically to assist referees; we have to be careful so that the referee’s power of autonomy is not affected. 
“We also need to protect the fluidity of the game. We don’t want to do what other sports do and have a two or three-minute break waiting for a decision. 
“This a strong recommendation but, since this is a fundamental decision, it is appropriate that we give the AGM the opportunity to have a further discussion. 
“There are still some sceptics and the only way we can have a full debate is with more information available to us. We can’t make such a fundamental decision without experimentation. It’s possible we could even end up saying we don’t want this for the game.”

The dinosaurs are slowly being dragged into the 21st century but it's a slow and painful process, we have only just introduced goal-line technology, despite it being around for years. The line about protecting the referee's power of autonomy is a bit of a joke when IFAB allow players to shout and scream at officials, badger them and generally allow players to make life as difficult as possible for them.

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