VAR has contributed to 99.3 per cent of refereeing decisions at the World Cup being correct, according to FIFA.
Video technology is being used for the first time in a World Cup, although the Premier League is among those yet to introduce it beyond trials.
Coaches and players have been critical of VAR throughout the tournament. Portugal defender Jose Fonte described the technology as “unacceptable”, while Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara said using the system “loses a little essence of football”.
However, Pierluigi Collina – chairman of the FIFA referees committee – defended the use of VAR and suggested it has had a positive impact at the World Cup overall, despite tweaks being required.
“During a competition, it’s not possible that everything goes 100 per cent perfectly,” Collina said.
“Some things have to be fine-tuned based on what is occurring in the first matches.
“95 per cent of the decisions taken by the referees without the VAR were correct, and this percentage increased to 99.3 per cent thanks to the intervention of the VAR.
“Something that’s always been said – VAR does not mean perfection. But as you can see 99.3 per cent is something that is very, very close.”
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 23, 2018
At the end of the group stage, 24 penalties have been awarded at Russia 2018, smashing the previous World Cup record.
Of those penalties, seven involved a VAR review, while the technology was used for an average of 6.9 incidents per game.
FIFA’s data indicates VAR was used to overturn 14 decisions on review, while three confirmed the on-pitch call by the referee.
“At the centre of the decision-making process, there is the referee. The VAR doesn’t decide. The VAR just recommends an on-field review. Only the referee has to take the final decision,” said FIFA’s VAR refereeing project leader Roberto Rosetti.
“This is the difference between interpretation, subjective decisions and factual decisions. For all interpretations, we want the referee at the centre of the decision-making.”
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