IFAB to discuss ‘video referee’ technology

Video replay technology for football matches will be discussed at next month’s meeting of the IFAB (International Football Association Board) at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich. The inclusion of this contentious issue on the agenda under ‘any other business’ follows soon after the implementation of goal line technology (GLT) for the Confederations Cup and in the English Premier League.

The IFAB is the organisation that determines the rules of association football and is made up of representatives from the football associations of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and the sport’s governing body, FIFA. The IFAB has reportedly shown interest in a pilot ‘video referee’ scheme that has been running in the Netherlands over the last two years, organised by the Dutch FA (KNVB).

A spokesman for the KNVB said the organisation “believes technical assistance can improve the quality of the decisions of the referees”. The aim of the pilot is to “investigate the value” of the technology for the sport. The spokesman added that the IFAB had told the KNVB it was interested in the project but that the Dutch FA did not request its inclusion in the upcoming meeting.

Since the start of GLT in the Premier League some commentators and fans have been calling for expanded video technology to include analysis of offside incidents and fouls.

Right now the Dutch video replay pilot is described as “offline”, meaning that the official monitoring the TV screens does not have contact with the referee on the pitch. This work will be discussed at the IFAB meeting on Saturday 1 March. A spokesman for the English FA said that any further implementation of new technology would take a long time as the IFAB “did not rush into things”.

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