Don’t Be Totally VAR Dependent: Ballan Tells Referees at FIFA Seminar in Doha

Published February 26th, 2019 - 11:16 GMT
Photo: Qatar Tribune
Photo: Qatar Tribune

Potential 2022 World Cup referees must ensure that the use of video review is minimal so as not to be totally dependent on the technology during matches.

The instructions to 40 officials in Qatar were outlined on Monday during a FIFA Promising Referees Seminar, which is part of FIFA’s preparations for the upcoming women’s World Cup editions in France 2019 and men’s U-20 World Cup in Poland 2019 respectively.

“You have all seen how much technology has helped us with VAR, which is always available but should be used to the minimum. You must still maintain your performance on the field of play and keep the refereeing approach on the field, so you don’t become totally dependent on the VAR because it is only an extra tool to help you,” Deputy Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee Hani Taleb Ballan said.

Video-assistant referees (VAR) were introduced into the FIFA World Cup for the first time last year in Russia but the technology resulted in some controversial and debated decisions at the World Cup in Russia.

Given some of the controversies generated by these decisions, Hani Ballan said referees must, “Maintain the focus and understanding of the game, be aware, right positioning and movement, management of situation & players, all these concepts have to be in your mind and must be transferred by your performance on the pitch of play.”

He added that VAR is not meant to change the refereeing concept but rather, “we are only providing the technology to help you when it is needed or a critical moment that you cannot really take the decision.”

The five-day seminar is to help the FIFA committee select potential referees for future tournaments of the world soccer governing body.

“It is a good opportunity for the new referees to show their capabilities, potentials, and readiness to participate in a future tournament,” he added.

“When you get to the FIFA level it is a different mentality of football and approach to refereeing decisions. For that reason you must be ready in the game, our expectations from you are that you understand what is happening on the pitch, understand the game, and players and the tactical approach that should be relevant for each game,” said FIFA’s Head of Refereeing Massimo Busacca.

You have to produce every time you go on the pitch, have good results so that your decisions are not questioned then you are considered an elite referee,” Busacca added.

He continued: “We want consistency, uniformity and we must all be on the same page during this discussion.”

Referees from the Asian Football Confederation, Oceania Football Confederation and the Union of European Football Associations will participate in the Doha-based five days seminar.

The seminar is used by FIFA as a training mechanism for referees who are likely to be part of the two elite tournaments and involved physical and endurance tests, practice on simulations, lectures, presentations and audio-visual analysis of real-time decision making on the pitch.

By Ikoli Vicktor

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