Hackett’s Verdict | Video Referee to be used in England v Germany

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[quote_box_left]The referee team from Poland are tasked to ensure that the experiment is a success.

England – Germany
Referee: Paweł Raczkowski (Poland)
Assistant Referee 1: Michał Obukowicz (Poland)
Assistant Referee 2: Radosław Siejka (Poland)
Fourth Official: Daniel Stefański (Poland)
Video Assistant Referee: Paweł Gil (Poland)
Assistant Video Assistant Referee: Marcin Borkowski (Poland)[/quote_box_left]

The news that the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will be operated officially in England for the first time hopefully moves a step nearer for its introduction into the Premier League.

The team of match officials from Poland will be put to the test and it is going to be interesting to see how referee Pawel Raczkowiski and video assistant referee Pawel Gil deliver this important and historical action. Poland are one of the countries that have been operating the VAR on selected games season to date. To get a first hand view on how the experiment is operating and receiving, you can follow our live text commentary RefCam coverage this Friday at 8pm.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) set out the protocols on how the VAR will operate and I detail their guidelines below:


  1. The aim is not to achieve 100% accuracy for all decisions as this would destroy the essential flow and emotions of football
  2. Video assistance is only for key match-changing situations(goals, penalty incidents and direct red cards and mistaken identity) and serious missed incidents
  3. The referee will always make a decision (including ‘no offence’) which will only be changed if the review shows a clear error – “was the decision clearly wrong?
  4. Video Assistant Referees (VARs) are match officials
  5. Only the referee can initiate a review; VAR and other officials can recommend a review
  6. The referee should be ‘visible’ during the review process to ensure transparency
  7. The final decision will always be taken by the referee
  8. There is no time pressure during a review – accuracy is more important than speed
  9. A match is not invalidated because of malfunction(s) of the VAR technology (same as for goal line technology) or wrong decision(s) involving the VAR (as the VAR is a match official) or a decision not to review an incident.
  10. Competitions must use the full IFAB VAR protocol – “one protocol – used by all

VAR - Ismail Elfath


  1. The VAR will automatically ‘check’ all incidents using the broadcaster’s footage (there is thus no need for coaches or players to request a review)
  2. The referee can stop play for a review if no team has a good attacking possibility
  3. The referee will indicate a review by showing the outline of a TV screen; a decision can not be changed unless the review signal has been shown
  4. For goals, penalty incidents and some red cards (e.g. denial of obvious goal-scoring opportunity), the review may include the attacking move that led to the incident, (including gaining possession of the ball) but not a restart which began the attack
  5. The referee can make a decision based only on the information from the VAR or after reviewing the footage directly (on-field review – OFR)
  6. OFRs will usually be for ‘subjective’ decisions and not for factual decisions e.g. position of an offence or player (offside), point of contact (handball/foul)
  7. ‘Real time’ speed should be used for ‘intensity’ (foul) or ‘intent’ (handball) and slow motion replays only for ‘point of contact’ (physical offences and handball)
  8. The referee will clearly indicate the outcome of a review; take/change/rescind any disciplinary action (where appropriate); and ensure the correct restart of play
  9. The aim of the experiment is NOT to achieve 100% accuracy for all decisions as there is no desire to destroy the essential flow and emotions of football which result from the game’s almost non-stop action and the general absence of lengthy stoppages. The philosophy is:


  1. To ensure that the referee (not the VAR) is the key match official, the referee will always make a decision (except a ‘missed’ usually ‘off the ball’ incident), including the decision that no offence has occurred. The referee’s decision can only be changed if the video review shows a clear error i.e. not ‘was the decision correct?’ but:


  1. National FAs and competitions are only permitted to take part in experiments (or use VARs) with the permission of The IFAB. Permission will only be granted where The IFAB protocols will be used in full and The IFAB’s referee-VAR education and technical requirements have been fulfilled:


To get a first hand view on how the experiment is operating and receiving, you can follow our live text commentary RefCam coverage this Friday at 8pm.

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