UEFA introduces a new rule of VAR into the Champions League knockout stages
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has confirmed the Video Assistant Replay (VAR) will be introduced in the round of 16 a season earlier than scheduled. European football’s governing body had already committed to using VAR in its competitions from 2019-20 onwards.
But last month, the UEFA president and European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli revealed there was scope to bring it in earlier. This move was confirmed at the Nations League Finals draw in Dublin on Monday, with all forthcoming knockout matches in UEFA’s flagship club competition to benefit from VAR. Alongside the Champions League rollout, VAR will also be used in this season’s Europa League final – but not, it seems, in the knockout rounds – as well as the Nations League Finals 2019 and next year’s European Under-21 Championship.
The UEFA Executive Committee made the decision at its meeting in Dublin, following successful technological testing and the training of referees over the last few months.
As well as being implemented for the UEFA Champions League round of 16 onwards, VAR will also be used for this season’s UEFA Europa League final in Baku, the UEFA Nations League Finals in Portugal and the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Italy.
“We are ready to use VAR earlier than initially planned and we are convinced that it will be beneficial for our competitions as it will provide valuable help to match officials and will allow to reduce incorrect decisions,” Ceferin said. VAR featured at the 2018 World Cup following a trial at FIFA competitions, including the 2017 Confederations Cup, and is increasingly present across football’s major domestic leagues.
LaLiga, the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 introduced it for this season, joining Serie A, the A-League and MLS in using video assistants. The Premier League will introduce VAR alongside its Goal Decision System from 2019-20.