Fifa in market for sponsor as VAR set to make World Cup debut
Fifa is in discussions with companies about sponsoring video assistant referee technology if, as expected, it is employed at this year’s World Cup.
The International Football Association Board, the body responsible for the laws of soccer, yesterday recommended that the technology, which has been trialled in more than 20 competitions over the past two years, be approved for use in the elite game.
The move still has to be fully ratified at the IFAB annual general assembly in March, but, assuming it is, VAR is set to make its World Cup debut in Russia in June and July.
Encouraged by developments, Philippe Le Floc’h, Fifa’s chief commercial officer, told AP: “Definitely VAR will happen [at the World Cup]. It’s great to have technology in football because this is also a fair[ness] thing.”
He added that Fifa was already looking for commercial partners, saying: “We are talking to various technological companies who are very interested with what we are doing on the technology side of things.”
The IFAB recommendation followed the presentation of a report which showed that VAR had increased the accuracy of decisions that can be reviewed from 93 per cent to almost 99 per cent, findings described by the body as “positive and encouraging.”
VAR, which is used to resolve decisions over goals, penalties, sendings-off and cases of mistaken identity, has been tested in Fifa competitions including the Club World Cup and Confederations Cup, plus major leagues such as Germany’s Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A, North America’s Major League Soccer and Australia’s A-League.
While there have been teething problems with the application of the technology, other leagues such as Spain’s LaLiga and France’s Ligue 1 have pledged to introduce the technology next season, and England's Premier League could follow suit if there is a favourable response to ongoing trials in the country's FA Cup and League Cup competitions.
Goal-line technology, used to determine whether the ball has crossed the line for a goal, was introduced for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.