Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Bayer Leverkusen vs Cologne - BayArena, Leverkusen, Germany - October 28, 2017. General view of the Video Assistant Referee equipment before the match - REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
ZURICH, March 3 (Reuters) - The use of video replays to help referees make key decisions was approved by soccer's rule-making body IFAB on Saturday, opening the way for the system to be used at this year's World Cup.
Soccer's world governing body FIFA has said the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system will be used at the World Cup in Russia if approved, while its European counterpart has said it will not be deployed in next season's Champions League.
Critics say VAR has led to confusion in competitions where it has been used, especially for spectators in stadiums who are often unaware that a decision is being reviewed.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) statement described the move as an "historic step for greater fairness in football."
According to IFAB protocols, VAR should only be used in four key cases: goals, penalties, direct red cards and mistaken identity.
A trained referee with access to a video monitor, and in constant communication with the main match official, checks all such decisions.
If a "clear and obvious" mistake is spotted, the incident can be reviewed and changed. The referee, who has access to a pitchside monitor, can also initiate a review himself.
The implementation of the VAR system has been one of FIFA president Gianni Infantino's main projects since he was elected in February 2016.