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FIFA rolls out video referee system

June 01,2018
For the first time, the FIFA World Cup will use a video assistant referee (VAR) system to improve the accuracy of referee calls. While Korea’s K League has been using the system since last year, the national team is introducing its players from foreign clubs to VAR in its friendly match against Bosnia and Herzegovina tomorrow.

In addition to the referees on the field, the VAR system referees will use Hawk-Eye’s VAR technology in every match to minimize the chance of incorrect calls. Though this will be the first time a VAR system will be used at the FIFA World Cup, the system was used at the U-20 FIFA World Cup, FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA Club World Cup last year.

To avoid disrupting the flow of the matches, the VAR system will only be used in four specific situations ? goals, penalties, red cards and mistaken identity in penalty calls. At the World Cup, the VAR team will have access to 33 broadcast cameras, including 12 slow-motion cameras and two offside cameras.

In addition to making calls on the field more accurate, the VAR system will also make online broadcasts of the World Cup games more detailed. Throughout the broadcasts, commentators will be able to draw virtual lines on the field to indicate the offside line or set piece defense zone. Online broadcasts of the World Cup will also show referees making the decisions on call reviews.

During Korea’s friendly match against Bosnia and Herzegovina at Jeonju World Cup Stadium in North Jeolla today, referees will use the VAR system throughout the match, which will give Korean players time to adjust to the new system. When Korea’s preliminary World Cup roster was called up on May 21, the players were given a general training session on the VAR system.

The KFA will use a total of 23 cameras, 21 of which are installed around the stadium for TV broadcasting purposes. The other two cameras are installed around the goal line to help make calls. The live videos sent to the media will also be provided to VAR referees.

By monitoring the match from different angles, VAR referees can catch penalties and monitor on-the-field calls.

“Since Hawk-Eye was introduced in the K League last year, players have adjusted to it,” said Cho Jun-heon, public affairs director at the KFA. “But players from European leagues and other foreign leagues aren’t very aware of the VAR system yet. In addition to testing their competitiveness during the friendly match against Bosnia and Herzegovina, I hope it also serves as an opportunity for them to get more familiar with the VAR system.”

The Korean national football team’s friendly match against Bosnia and Herzegovina will be played at 8 p.m. tonight at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium. This will be the team’s last match before head coach Shin Tae-yong finalizes his 23-man roster for the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The Korean squad will head to Austria for training on Sunday, where they’ll play against Senegal on June 11, before heading to their World Cup training camp in Saint Petersburg.

Korea is assigned in Group F in the World Cup, along with 23rd-ranked Sweden, 15th-ranked Mexico and the defending champion Germany. Korea will play its first game against Sweden on June 18.

BY SONG JI-HOON, KANG YOO-RIM [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]