Spectators at this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup may hear referees explain VAR decisions to the crowd through public address systems.
The move is being considered by FIFA who await the results of a trial of on-pitch live-communication of decisions at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco.
A fuller 12-month trial of the process was approved at January’s Annual Business Meeting of football’s rule-making body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB). This followed recommendations made by its Football and Technical Advisory Panels in October 2022.
Speaking to FIFA.com, chairman of the FIFA’s Referees Committee Pierluigi Collina said:
“We decided to have this trial because we received some requests to make the decision taken by the referee after a VAR intervention more understandable for all the football stakeholders, namely the spectators at the stadium, or in front of the television.”
Main photo: Pierluigi Collina. Credit: FIFA.com.
Collina warned there could be teething problems with the new system.
“It’s the first time we’re doing it, so certainly it might not be perfect at the very beginning but I’m confident that the outcome will be positive.
“Our objective it to protect the referees, so to not make their job too difficult, to not put too much extra pressure on them. That’s why it’s only once the decision has been taken that the communication will start.”
The first game to put the new system to the test was Auckland City’s match against Egyptian club Al Ahly at the FIFA Club World Cup on February 2.
The referee used VAR and explained his decision to award a free kick to Al Ahly, and to send off City’s Adam Mitchell as the game went into stoppage time.
FIFA are also expected to trial the new system at the FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup in Indonesia in May.
Collina said the trials will influence the decision on whether to use the system in New Zealand and Australia for the Women’s World Cup.
“Depending on the outcome (of the trials), certainly there might be the possibility of having this at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand but I think it’s better to wait and see the outcome of the trials in the other competitions before saying anything in that regard.”
VAR was first used at a senior international tournament at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia
It was used at the Women’s World Cup for the first time in 2019.