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Major League Soccer to host IFAB Workshop on Video Assistant Referee Experiments

Major League Soccer to host IFAB Workshop on Video Assistant Referee Experiments
Media opportunity scheduled for Wednesday, July 20 at Red Bull Arena
NEW YORK (July 12, 2016) - The second workshop on experiments with video assistant referees (VARs) will be hosted by Major League Soccer from July 19-21 at Red Bull Arena, home of the New York Red Bulls. A media opportunity is scheduled for Wednesday, July 20 and press interested in attending are asked to register by emailing no later than Friday, July 15. Further information will follow.
The workshop follows from the kick-off sessions held in the Netherlands in May, when competition organizers were provided with specific requirements to take part in the two-year trial overseen by The IFAB.
The three-day workshop at Red Bull Arena will be attended by 25 leagues and associations from across the globe. MLS is one of a number of competitions in six countries already confirmed to take part in the trial, while others will be joining the meeting to learn more about the VAR protocol and the practical implications before making a final decision.
The focus of the workshop will be on the use of Video Assistant Referees in a “live” environment. Through presentations and practical on field demonstrations by local U-18 soccer players in match settings, attendees will learn more about how the referees should communicate with each other to make decisions on the four match-changing incidents included in the experiment protocol -- goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and mistaken identity.
Also on the agenda is referee education, which is a crucial part of the current preparation phase as The IFAB looks to guide all participants to achieve consistent trials.
“Offline” experiments – ones in which VARs can familiarize themselves with the setup, assess video replays and practice making calls without communicating with the match referee – are due to start this year. In addition, The IFAB and FIFA may select matches or tournaments where VARs will be used live in matches, such as friendly matches in the participating competitions or the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan in December this year, which could serve as a dress rehearsal before The IFAB authorizes participants to conduct live tests in 2017.
The IFAB – the independent body authorized to decide and agree on changes to the Laws of the Game in consultation with the football community – will supervise each experiment with the support of FIFA’s Football Technology Innovation Department. This is set to include a research study involving the participating competition organizers, technology providers and a selected independent institute or university to focus not only on the refereeing outcomes but also the effect on the game itself, including the impressions of the various stakeholders.
The decision from The IFAB on whether or not VARs should be introduced could be made in 2018 at the earliest or in 2019 at the latest.
Further information about VARs is available here. An FAQ document is available here.