FIFA holds first trials of VAR challenge system for reviews

FIFA has initiated trials for a new system of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) that empowers coaches to challenge a referee’s decision, shifting the responsibility from solely the video officials to the coaches. This new system, named Football Video Support (VS), was endorsed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) during their Annual General Meeting in March 2023 and is intended to be implemented globally.

The Football Video Support system allows coaches to challenge decisions on goals, penalties, red cards, and cases of mistaken identity. Each team is permitted two challenges per match, and if a challenge is upheld, the team retains the ability to use another review.

The process for requesting a review is initiated by the coach, who signals by twirling a finger in the air and presenting a card to the fourth official. todaymatchprediction The coach must specify the type of incident to be reviewed. While players can suggest a review to the coach, the final decision to activate it rests with the coach. A replay operator is responsible for ensuring the appropriate footage is shown for the review.

Pierluigi Collina, FIFA’s head of referees, reported that the initial tests of this system during the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup, a youth competition in Zurich, were successful.

This new approach aims to provide a more resource-efficient alternative to the existing VAR system, potentially broadening its application across different levels of the game.

Pierluigi Collina expressed optimism about the new system at the FIFA Congress in Bangkok, stating, “The outcome was very, very positive. Our aim is to continue to trial this new system, namely in our youth competitions. We hope to be able to give all of you who have indicated an interest the possibility to implement this system in your competitions.”

Currently, the challenge system is exclusive to internal FIFA trials, with no provision for leagues or competitions to request participation. There are also no immediate plans to introduce it at the top levels of the game.

The Football Video Support (VS) system is not meant to replace the traditional VAR used at elite levels, where resources allow for multiple cameras and video assistants. Instead, VS aims to provide a more accessible option, potentially benefiting leagues that have previously been denied the chance to trial a challenge system. Serie A, for instance, proposed implementing challenges in 2020, believing it would be less disruptive to the flow of the game.

If the trials of the VS system prove successful and it becomes part of the Laws of the Game, leagues might choose to implement this “VAR light” system instead of the full VAR system. This development could open the door for broader adoption of video review technology in football, making it more feasible for various levels of competition.