After what was deemed a “successful” trial at last year’s Confederations Cup, Gianni Infantino has stressed the need for VAR at the World Cup and its qualifiers. Now, after what happened on Tuesday night in CONCACAF qualifying, the FIFA president is back with wanting VAR for the 2018 World Cup.
While Panama was awarded a goal in the 53rd minute, video showed that the ball never completely went over the line. That put Panama level with Costa Rica and then a late goal moved them up 2-1 and helped knock the United States out of the World Cup. While this shouldn’t be used as an excuse because the USMNT shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place especially when they were losing to Trinidad & Tobago, it could be argued that if that goal wasn’t awarded, the United States would have been fourth and thus play Australia for a spot in the World Cup.
Infantino used the situation to have VAR at the World Cup and its qualifiers. Infantino said, “When you play a World Cup qualification game and that game is decided by a major error of interpretation by the referee, which can happen because they’re human beings like everyone else, then it is time to rectify things.”
“When the whole world has seen it in just a few seconds and the only one who hasn’t is the referee, not because he doesn’t want to but because he’s forbidden from seeing it, and it could be corrected then I think we should move with the times and take a step forward.”
VAR was used in the Confederations Cup and is now being used in MLS. The replay system hasn’t been perfect and has sometimes caused major delays or still making the wrong decision, but those have been few and far between. After the initial awkwardness of replay in the Confederations Cup, things seem to have gotten smoother.
It’s important to note that FIFA must approve VAR for the World Cup before it’s used. It is used in some FIFA tournaments and now in league play but it must be approved. At the very least, goal line technology can at least solve what happened with Panama-Costa Rica and goal line tech seems to be a rare thing that has 100% approval for its quick and accurate ruling. That is unless you were just on the short end of an overturned decision due to goal line technology.