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Video Assistant Referees to be used at World Cup in Russia

The World Cup is set to use video replays this summer – with FIFA confirming a sponsor is being sought for the technology.

Football’s governing body met to assess recent trials ahead of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) being officially approved for use in the tournament in Russia in June and July.

FIFA chief commercial officer Philippe Le Floc’h said: “Definitely VAR will happen. It’s great to have technology in football because this is also a fairness thing.”

The system was used for the first time at the 2014 World Cup when goal-line technology was deployed.

But now replays can be used when there is a “clear and obvious error” involving goals, penalty awards, red cards, and mistaken identity.

 Referee Jonathan Moss awaits a decision from VAR at a Leicester City/Fleetwood Town game
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Referee Jonathan Moss awaits a decision from VAR at a Leicester City/Fleetwood Town game

VAR could provide FIFA with a commercial opportunity.

Speaking on board the World Cup trophy tour plane during a stop at London Stansted Airport, Mr Floc’h said: “We are talking to various technological companies who are very interested with what we are doing on the technology side of things.”

Kelechi Iheanacho assured himself of a place in English football history earlier in January after becoming the first player to score via a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) decision.

The Leicester City striker’s second goal in his team’s 2-0 FA Cup victory over Fleetwood Town was initially disallowed for offside.

But referee Jonathan Moss asked to consult with the VAR and replays showed Iheanacho was onside when the ball was played forward by teammate Riyad Mahrez.

After a delay of just over a minute Moss gave the goal, ensuring the Nigerian international of a place in pub quizzes for years to come.

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