FIFA’s Infantino wants video replays at 2018 World Cup

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures during an interview with Reuters at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
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By Julien Pretot

ROISSY, France (Reuters) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino is hoping video replays will be used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia to help referees avoid serious mistakes during the tournament.

Speaking to reporters after the first executive summit of the world governing body on Wednesday, he said video replays could help with decisions on penalties, goals and red cards.

“It will not answer all the questions a referee can have but it will help them not to make serious mistakes,” Infantino said at the regional gathering of FAs.

“How? With a referee in front of a TV monitor who looks at the footage and in the space of two, three, four seconds can advise the field referee if he is asked or if he has not seen a serious mistake.

“Once again, it would be for game-changing decisions – goals, penalties and red cards, that is essentially on these decisions that video replays can intervene.”

Infantino, who was elected in February, believes it is about time referees were assisted by video replays.

“We’ve been talking about this for 50 years and now we’re testing it,” he said, adding that further tests could be conducted at next month’s Club World Cup in Japan or at next year’s Confederations Cup in Russia.

“We will be testing all this, we will experiment and make mistakes, but the first results are positive and I really hope that in 2018 we will be able to help the referees at the World Cup.

“It is a paradox that the only one not seeing a serious mistake is the referee while all the spectators at the stadiums or with their phones or at home see it immediately, while the referee cannot see it not because he does not want to but because he is not allowed to,” Infantino added.

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In March, IFAB approved a two-year trial of a system in which a so-called Video Assistant Referee (VAR), with access to replays, helps the match officials review key decisions.

Australia, Brazil, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United States have all been conducting tests.

The second and third of 11 FIFA executive summits will be held in Singapore from Dec. 6-8.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)


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