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Champions League Considering VAR For Late Knockout Rounds

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Perhaps next year’s final won’t devolve into a MMA match.

Real Madrid v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Video Assistant Referee, or VAR, has become a hot topic in world football in recent seasons. The English FA tried to help their mostly incompetent refs by rolling it out in the League Cup last year, though its implementation was slapdash and created more controversy, not less.

FIFA, on the other hand, eschewed their previous reluctance to use video replay, rolling it out for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. VAR was largely viewed as a success, with several important decisions being overturned upon further review.

According to The Times, UEFA officials were impressed by VAR in the World Cup, and are considering implementing it for all games after the Round of 16 in the knockouts of the Champions League.

If UEFA can implement VAR in the quarterfinals and beyond as well as the World Cup did, it can only be a good thing for the biggest club competition in the world.

Though, it is curious that they are deciding on the quarterfinals as the starting point, not the knockouts generally or the even the group stages. UEFA claims that resources would be a restricting factor, but with all matches being televised, and big money riding on qualifying for the next round, this seems to be a rather weak excuse. That said, it can only be a good thing for the competition if rolled out successfully in the last eight.

Liverpool certainly felt hard-done by the multiple red card offenses committed by Sergio Ramos in the final, and VAR could have helped right at least one of those wrongs in the final.

UEFA’s executive committee are expected to vote on this proposal at the end of the month.