Gianni Infantino insists VAR is 'helping' football, not damaging it

Gianni Infantino believes VAR is not damaging football, insisting that errors are down to the unfamiliarity with the technology; the FIFA president did however reveal that leagues are under 'no obligation' to keep using it

FIFA President Gianni Infantino
Image: FIFA President Gianni Infantino called for patience with VAR

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has leapt to the defence of VAR, claiming the technology is "helping" football not damaging it.

Players, coaches and pundits have criticised VAR, with many feeling it has gone far beyond its original stated purpose of correcting 'clear and obvious' errors.

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville believe a serious rethink is required about the way in which VAR is being applied in the Premier League. The Sky Sports pundits were speaking on Monday Night Football after Ollie Watkins saw a late equaliser controversially ruled out by VAR as Aston Villa were beaten 2-1 by West Ham.

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville believe VAR has become too frustrating and is not achieving what it was designed to do.

Infantino said often the problem was how the technology was implemented, rather than the technology itself.

"I think that VAR is helping football, it's certainly not damaging football," he said. "We have to remember VAR was introduced for the first time two years ago, not 20 years ago.

"We must not make a confusion between VAR and maybe sometimes wrong decisions which are taken because of the wrong way in which VAR is used maybe in some places because of the lack of experience of those who are using VAR.

"Let's not forget this really is a landmark change for a referee who didn't grow up with VAR."

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He also said there was "no obligation" on competitions to use the technology if they did not want to.

Infantino said he was "sad" on a personal level at the resignation of Greg Clarke from his position as a FIFA vice-president, but said the former Football Association chairman had done the right thing in quitting after making a series
of offensive remarks in an appearance before MPs last month.

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Infantino reiterated that FIFA had a zero-tolerance policy to discrimination of all forms.

The Swiss was speaking following the final FIFA Council meeting of 2020, where it was agreed that the 2021 Club World Cup will be a seven-team tournament to be played in Japan.

FIFA had hoped it would be able to stage the first of its expanded, 24-team Club World Cup competitions in China next summer, but it agreed to postpone the event indefinitely in order to reschedule Euro 2020 and the 2020 Copa America.

Instead, the tournament will continue in its existing format and be played late in 2021.

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