The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has been slow to modernize the Laws of the Game, but video replay technology is on the docket for integration with soccer’s rules and regulations - and the New York Red Bulls are on the bleeding edge of the discussion.
Last month, MLS and IFAB conducted a workshop at Red Bull Arena focusing on the use of video assistant referees (VAR). This experiment featured VAR in a live test for the first time.
Now IFAB, USL, and MLS have decided to test this replay technology at Red Bull Arena during five New York Red Bulls II matches. VAR will be tested during a live, competitive match for the first time on Friday, August, 12th at 7 p.m. as Red Bulls II host Orlando City B.
Additional matches during which replay will be tested include August 19th vs. Louisville City FC, August 28th vs. FC Cincinnati, September 7th vs. Harrisburg City Islanders, and September 17th vs. FC Montreal.
According to an mlssoccer.com article, replay can be used for decisions involving goals, penalty kicks, straight red cards, and cases of mistaken identity. There will be no time limit for the video review.
The video assistant referee will be either a current or former top level official. During matches the VAR will be inside a booth in the stadium with a monitor. The VAR will use a headset to communicate with the officiating crew. There will be another monitor near the fourth official that the center referee may consult.
The VAR can make suggestions, but ultimately the center referee will decide whether replay needs to be used or a decision needs to be changed. Only blatantly incorrect decisions will be overturned.
IFAB is expected to decide whether or not to permanently introduce video assistant referees by 2018 or 2019.