The IFAB is inviting leagues and associations interested in running experiments with video assistant referees (VARs) to a first workshop in Amsterdam next month, hosted by the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) who will help demonstrate how the experiments and related technology will work.
Over the course of the workshop from May 18 to 20, competition organisers will have the opportunity to learn more about the experiments including observing “offline” experiments in action in a play-off match (at a venue to be confirmed) as well as receiving a presentation on available technological solutions by different technology providers. An offline experiment represents a dry run whereby a VAR can get familiarised with the setup, assess video replays and practice making calls on match-changing incidents, but without communicating with the referee. This means there will be no impact on the game, unlike during a “live” experiment when the match officials do communicate with each other and the referee can take decisions based on information provided by the VAR.
The KNVB conducted offline experiments since 2013 and their findings helped The IFAB’s Technical Sub-Committee together with FIFA’s Football Technology Innovation Department draw up a detailed implementation protocol that competition organisers taking part in The IFAB-sanctioned experiments will be required to follow.
After next month’s workshop, the interested leagues and associations will have time to consider the information before finally deciding whether they would like to take part in the upcoming two-year experiments.
The IFAB will not select competition organisers; instead, those that wish to conduct experiments will be allowed to do so, subject to the organiser’s willingness and capability to run the experiments in line with the approved protocol as well as project management factors such as the implied costs, available human resources, required technological infrastructure, risk assessment for the competition and time schedules for implementation, which are still to be finalised.
An announcement is set to be made by The IFAB later in May to confirm which competitions will take part in the experiments. Those competition organisers will then be invited to a second workshop to receive additional information and to see demonstrations of “live” experiments. Further details on where and when this second workshop will take place will follow in due course.