New technological innovations will be to the fore at the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania as video support (VS) services are being implemented to support referees in their decisions.
“We are really looking forward to this new chapter as video support technology is sure to positively impact futsal, and help support match officials in making key decisions,”, said Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA Referees’ Committee.
VS will comprise a review operator and a pitch side monitor allowing referees to review specific incidents. The referees use VS when the head coach of a team (or, in their absence, a designated team official) challenges the referee’s decision in relation to four specific incident categories:
- Goal/no goal situations;
- Penalty incidents;
- Direct red cards; and
- Potential cases of mistaken identity.
Compared to football, futsal referees do not have a video assistant referee (VAR) following every moment of the match on a television monitor. In futsal, referees only revert to video evidence if coaches challenge initial calls on the field of play. As in football, the final decision remains with the referee.
The most important facts quickly explained
Each head coach has one challenge per half. If extra time is played, one additional challenge is permitted. In addition, challenges not used during the first half, the second half or extra time cannot be carried forward.
If a challenge proves unsuccessful, with the initial decision confirmed after the review, the head coach loses the capacity to make a further challenge. However, if the challenge is successful, with the initial decision overturned upon VS review, the head coach retains the ability to challenge.
During a video review, the referees must remain visible to ensure transparency. As with VAR, when the review is completed, the referee must show the television signal and communicate the final decision in front of the timekeeper’s table and, if necessary, to both head coaches.
If the initial decision is not overturned, play will restart: according to the initial decision if play had already stopped or with a dropped ball if play was stopped by the referees to perform the review.
“VS has been tested in various competitions, and with a positive outcome,” adds Collina. “The selected match officials for this competition have received intensive training during the preparation phase and are ready to move into the implementation phase. In addition, the participating teams have received specific VS presentations during online coaches’ workshops and the team arrival meeting. It’s an important milestone for futsal, and it will be an innovative system for the sport, enabling quick review of specific on-pitch incidents and ultimately ensuring fairer results.”
The 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup – Lithuania, which features 24 national teams, will be played from September 12 to October 3, 2021 in Kaunas, Klaipeda and Vilnius.