(Reuters) - La Liga plans to introduce video assistant referees (VAR) next season, the league’s president Javier Tebas said on Tuesday.
Spain’s top flight is the only one of Europe’s top five leagues which has so far shunned the use of goalline technology, much to the frustration of the teams.
While the only use of goalline technology is to determine whether the ball has completely crossed the goalline, VAR can be used to determine goals, red cards, penalties as well as cases of mistaken identity.
Last season Barcelona were not awarded a goal despite television replays showing the ball had crossed the line during a 1-1 draw with Real Betis.
“Next season there will be VAR in La Liga, without a doubt,” Tebas said at a news conference in Madrid on Tuesday.
“We are making lots of progress in meetings about it right now and it will be ready very soon.”
On the opening day of this season, two other incidents also highlighted the need to introduce the technology.
Sevilla defender Clement Lenglet’s goal against Espanyol was allowed to stand despite replays confirming the ball had not crossed the line, while Getafe were denied a goal against Athletic Bilbao even though Jorge Molina’s strike appeared to have gone over the line.
Spanish newspaper Marca reported on Sunday that the technology will be tested out in a King’s Cup game between Atletico Madrid and Elche on Nov. 29, although the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) could not confirm whether or not the trial would take place when contacted by Reuters.
Tebas has previously said that goal-line technology was too expensive to implement in Spain. He also blamed a lack of synergy between his organisation and the RFEF for the slow progress in introducing VAR.
Tebas had a frosty relationship with Angel Maria Villar, the former president of the RFEF who was removed from the role following a anti-corruption investigation by the Spanish police.
Villar’s successor, Juan Luis Larrea, is in favour of bringing in the technology and said last month VAR would be in use in La Liga from the first week of the 2018-19 campaign.
VAR is already used in the top flight in Germany, Italy and Portugal, while FIFA president Gianni Infantino has expressed his support for introducing it at the 2018 World Cup, although its use is yet to be officially confirmed.
Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Pritha Sarkar