Not before time, football is finally using video technology

Technology’s infiltration into football continued last night as video technology was used to correct two wrong decisions in the friendly match between Spain and France.

Early in the second half, France’s Antoine Griezmann thought he had given his side the lead only for the goal to be ruled out once match referee, Felix Zwayer, had consulted with the video assistant referee (VAR), Tobias Stieler, who was sat in a truck outside the Stade de France.

Video technology was used for a second time when Spain’s Gerard Deulofeu had a goal awarded following a conversation between the referee and the VAR.

“If it is verified and it is fair, why not [use VAR]?” said France’s coach, Didier Deschamps. “It changes our football a little. It is against us today but if we have to go through this it will be the same for everyone. Afterwards, without [VAR], it would have been different, but it is the evolution of football. That is how it will be.”

Images courtesy of the IFAB

Although this isn’t the first time that VAR has been used in football, the friendly match between Spain and France is the most high-profile platform on which the technology has been utilised.

The technology is currently in testing, but FIFA president Gianni Infantino is keen to employ the system during the World Cup in Russia next year, and the German Bundesliga has approved use of the technology in the 2017/18 season.

“I’ve been very happy with the tests. It’s good for football and helps the game a lot. This is something that eradicates the big incorrect decisions, which is our goal,” said FIFA’s Chief Officer for Technical Development and former Dutch striker, Marco van Basten.

The news that VAR will increasingly be used in elite-level football is just one of the ways technology is being incorporated into football.

Football’s lawmaking body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), confirmed to Factor last month that it is in conversations with football’s major stakeholders to allow electronic equipment to be used in managers’ dugouts.

“We cannot control what is happening in the technical area right now because the devices are becoming smaller and smaller, so information can be accessed easily nowadays, and the fourth official’s role is not to check whether a player has hidden or has a mobile phone in his hand,” said IFAB Secretary, Lukas Brud.

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