VAR: Report shows technology has been 98.9% accurate in decision-making

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How does VAR work?

The video assistant referee (VAR) system has been accurate in 98.9% of decisions so far during its two-year worldwide trial, says the International Football Association Board.

A report from football's lawmakers said VAR was used in 804 competitive matches in more than 20 competitions.

It said the technology increased the accuracy of decisions that can be reviewed from 93% to 98.9%.

Ifab said the results were "positive and encouraging".

VAR was first used at the Club World Cup in December 2016, and trialled in the 2017 Confederations Cup and domestic competitions in Germany and Italy.

It was used for the first time in a competitive English game earlier this month.

A decision on whether to introduce the technology on a permanent basis will be made at Ifab's annual meeting in Zurich on 3 March.

VAR can be used in four "match-changing" situations - goals, penalty/no penalty decisions, straight red cards and cases of mistaken identity by the referee.

The first VAR goal in England was awarded to Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho - his effort in their FA Cup win over Fleetwood being allowed 67 seconds after it was initially ruled out for offside.

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Iheanacho scores first VAR goal in English football

But the system was not used to overturn the decision to caution Willian and not award Chelsea a penalty in their FA Cup third-round replay against Norwich.

The Ifab said checking whether players were offside was the "one of the more difficult tasks" encountered by VAR.

"The exact pitch dimensions, including any physical camber on the field as well asdistortions of thecamera lenses, make it very difficultfor a virtual line to be drawn that accurately represents a true straight line as it would be physically drawn across the field," said the Ifab report.

The report also said a player should be booked for making the television signal to the referee, and coaches and players will not be allowed to challenge a refereeing decision.

Key Ifab findings:

  • In the 804 matches there were 3,947 checks for possible reviewable incidents.
  • 56.9% ofchecks were for penalty incidents and goals.
  • There was an average of fewer than five checks per match.
  • The median check time of the VAR is 20 seconds.
  • The median duration of a review is 60 seconds.
  • 68.8% ofmatcheshad no review.
  • One decision in three matches is a "clear and obvious error".
  • In 8% ofmatches the VAR had a decisive impact on the outcome of the game.
  • 24% of all matches were positively affected by the involvement of VAR (changing an initial incorrect decision by the referee).
  • The average time'lost' due to the VAR represents less than 1% of overall playing time.

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