FIFA president admits VAR could cause controversy at the World Cup

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures as he address a press conference following the FIFA Council meeting
Image: FIFA President Gianni Infantino is braced for VAR controversy at the World Cup

FIFA president Gianni Infantino admits the use of video assistant referees is not foolproof and may cause controversy at the 2018 World Cup.

Infantino believes the implementation of VAR, which was rubber-stamped for use at the World Cup by the FIFA council last month, was a necessary measure as the governing body looks to give its match officials every assistance in making correct decisions.

The VAR system has been trialled worldwide but its use in England has led to mixed reactions from players, managers and supporters, with those inside stadiums complaining of being in the dark while decisions are made.

Speaking in April's FIFA magazine, Infantino said: "I am sure that soon we will reach a stage in which VARs are part and parcel of the game and its flow.

"Right now, while technology is still a novelty in football, every single incident draws attention and is dissected like an anomaly - unlike the many seconds that we have grown used to wasting, say, in between free-kicks or throw-ins.

Italy claimed a late draw against England thanks to VAR
Image: Italy claimed a late draw against England thanks to VAR

"Will there still be mistakes? Absolutely. Unavoidable ones. An important component of football refereeing is subjective, and for that we will always have to count on human judgement, which is fallible by nature - even more so when under enormous pressure.

"However, we have an obligation to provide match officials with all of the tools they need to help them make decisions as accurately as possible.

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"And, yes, we will be ready for controversy. Whenever people care about something as much as they do about football, there will always be discussion.

"Football could either expose itself to a brand new controversy - arising from a willingness to improve the game - or settle for an existing, inert one. I am happy we chose the former."

Premier League clubs will vote on Friday on whether to introduce the system for the 2018-19 campaign, with at least 14 clubs needing to accept the proposal for use in the top flight next season.

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