Although Video Assistant Referee (VAR) did not save Liverpool from some world class crap officiating from Kevin Friend & Co., its implementation over the 2018 World Cup was largely seen as a success.
Initially, UEFA had discussed rolling out VAR in the quarterfinals and beyond in the Champions League, but now it appears that they are preparing a much more expansive use of the technology, starting in the 2019/20 season.
This morning, UEFA’s Executive Committee took a break from taking bribes to actually discuss footballing matters. They decided to introduce VAR in the Champions League next season, starting at the Play-off Stage. Obviously, this is much earlier than the quarterfinals as previously discussed.
Additionally, VAR will be used in the 2019 UEFA Super Cup, the 2020 Euros, and the 2020/21 Europa League (beginning at the Group Stage).
“We are confident that introducing Video Assistant Referees in August 2019 will give us enough time to put in place a robust system and to train match officials to ensure an efficient and successful implementation of VAR in the UEFA Champions League, the world’s flagship club competition,” UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said after the meeting.
With so much pride, prestige, and money riding on Champions League results, attempting to correct some of the most glaring errors by on-pitch refs can only be a good thing. Though, as English refs have proved, VAR is not a magic bullet solution for gross incompetency.