An important piece of history will be made at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016 (8‑18 December in Yokohama and Osaka) with video assistance being used to support referees with “match-changing” decisions for the first time in a FIFA competition.
This trial will involve video assistant referees (VARs) being given access to all broadcast feeds inside a video operations room, enabling them to provide information to the referee on the field of play in order to correct clear mistakes in “match-changing” situations. These include serious incidents including goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity. The VARs will play a supporting role along with the assistant referees and the fourth official, but the referee will continue to take the first as well as the final decision on the field of play.
By using VARs during the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016, FIFA will be putting The IFAB’s VAR protocol through an important test before other competition organizers begin conducting live trials from 2017 onwards. The referee will be able to review footage on a pitchside monitor for certain decisions – a key progression from the “semi-live” tests conducted at recent international friendly matches in Italy.
With the support of FIFA and The IFAB, competition organisers in 12 countries are already confirmed to participate in the two-year experiments (Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, USA).