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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Infantino: Fifa to make final decision on VAR use at World Cup in Russia on March 3

System has been trialled in nearly 1,000 games and now football's governing body will decide if it will be used in the summer.

Gianni Infantino said Fifa will make a final decision on the use of VAR at the World Cup on March 3. Giang Huy / AFP
Gianni Infantino said Fifa will make a final decision on the use of VAR at the World Cup on March 3. Giang Huy / AFP

Fifa president Gianni Infantino has said football’s governing body will decide next month whether to officially endorse the video assistant referee (VAR), a move that could see the controversial technology used at the World Cup finals in Russia in the summer.

VAR, so far trialled in nearly 1,000 matches, reviews key moments linked to goals, penalty decisions, straight red card decisions and cases of mistaken identity.

Its merits have been vigorously debated by football fans and pundits across the world, with some criticising the introduction of the technology for slowing down the game, with some decisions taking more than five minure

Speaking in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi yesterday, Infantino raised the prospect of VAR being co-opted into the rules of the global game well in time for the World Cup in Russia.

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“On the 3rd of March, we will decide whether the video assistant refereeing will be part of the laws of the game and will become an official help for referees or not,” he said.

Infantino, who has previously endorsed the system, said he is “confident and positive” ahead of next month’s meeting.

“In 2018 we cannot anymore afford that everyone in the stadium and everyone in front of a TV screen can see within a few minutes on his phone whether the referee has made a big mistake or not, and the only one who cannot see it is the referee.

“So if we can help the referee then we should do it.

Infantino also lavished praise on the next World Cup hosts, Russia, saying the tournament in June would be the best yet.

“Preparations in Russia are very, very well on track,” he said. The stadiums are beautiful, the infrastructure was there, the airports are operational, hotels are there and I think the world will discover this summer a welcoming country, a country which wants to celebrate together with the whole world the biggest, not only sporting event, but the biggest social and sporting event in the world, which is the World Cup.

“We’ll experience the best World Cup ever this summer in Russia.”