June 1, 2017 / 5:26 PM / 6 months ago

IFAB wants "minimum interference, maximum benefit" from replays

ZURICH (Reuters) - Soccer’s lawmaking body IFAB wants to keep the use of video replays to an minimum if they are eventually introduced into the sport to help referees make match-changing decisions.

Chairman of the Referees Committee at the Football Association, David Elleray, attends a news conference during the 130th Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), in Cardiff, Britain March 5, 2016. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Files

Technical director David Elleray added that IFAB was also considering whether or not the crowd should be shown the replay while match officials were deliberating over an incident.

IFAB approved live testing of video assistant referees (VARs), who monitor the action on screens and call the match referee’s attention to key mistakes or omissions, in March last year.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has already said that soccer’s governing body would like to use them in the 2018 World Cup and IFAB is expected to decide next March whether to authorise their use in the game on a permanent basis.

Elleray said replays should only be used for “clear errors in goals, penalties and direct red cards, plus mistaken identity”.

“The idea is not to check every decision... It is to overturn the ones that make the headlines,” he said, adding that he wanted “minimum interference, maximum benefit”.

“We would rather have one review in four matches than four in every match,” he said.

Asked whether it would be a good idea to show replays to the crowd, Elleray said: “We are discussing and considering at the moment, there are strong arguments for, strong arguments against.”

Elleray said that, in cases where play continued after a possible infringement, then the referee should stop the game for a review “as soon as the ball is in a neutral part of the field”.

However, he accepted there would be rare cases in which it would be impossible to stop the game quickly, in which case officials would simply allow play to go on and review the incident at the first possible opportunity.

“Ultimately, the main thing is getting it right,” he said.

”It could one day happen that there is a possible penalty at one end but play goes straight down the other end and a goal is scored.

“In that case, depending on the outcome of the video, the goal would be disallowed and a penalty awarded to the other side.”

Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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