October 12, 2018 / 4:13 PM / in a month

Soccer: Van Basten steps down from FIFA role

Football Soccer - FIFA Awards Ceremony - Zurich, Switzerland - 09/01/17. Former Dutch player Marco van Basten arrives at the ceremony. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Netherlands striker Marco van Basten is to leave his role as FIFA’s chief technical development officer at the end of the month to spend more time with his family, world soccer’s governing body said on Friday.

The 53-year-old joined FIFA in 2016 in a role designed to look at ways of enhancing the game through technology and innovation.

“Marco will depart FIFA on mutual terms at the end of October to spend more time in the Netherlands with his family,” FIFA said, adding that Van Basten had agreed to possible future collaboration on technical development in the game.

Van Basten was one of the leading backers for video assistant referees (VAR), which were used at the World Cup for the first time this year in Russia.

“After two good and interesting years I decided to put an end to my duty at FIFA, mainly to be able to spend more time with my family in Amsterdam,” the 1988 European Championship winner said.

“I learned a lot being in a position to influence this game from the other side. The World Cup in Russia with the introduction of VAR was a nice milestone.”

Last year the former AC Milan and Ajax Amsterdam player said that he wished to see experiments such as abolition of the offside rule and yellow cards replaced with sin bins. The suggested changes have yet to reach the trial stage.

Reporting by Christian Radnedge; Editing by David Goodman

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