As a fan of ice hockey, I've become accustomed to the benefits of video review. The NHL does it right. There is one VAR room where all video reviews are done for the entire league, which leads to a high degree of consistency. The officials do not leave the playing surface or view the video themselves, but when the video review is uncertain the official ruling on the ice stands.

Why is this not done in association football? I suspect that the answer is that the people who make the decisions are, like me, over 60. This leads to my real question. Could an individual league such as the Barclays Premiere League, or MLS in North America, chose to use video review or does FIFA prevent this?

  • 1
    BPL means Barclays Premier League not British Premier League, but is commonly known as the EPL (English Premier League). This is important since there are separate English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish league systems in the UK. These teams do not play one another except in "international" competitions, such as the Champions League. May 21, 2012 at 3:35
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    May 24, 2012 at 14:49

3 Answers 3


Regarding your first subquestion, why is this not done in association football: The governing bodies are very much concerned that the game is played at all levels according to the same rules. Local club football would obviously not be able to use any kind of video review, and therefore the way players and officials approach the game at different levels would be different. For example, referees might be more or less likely to give certain decisions if they could review them on video, and players might play certain kinds of tackles more or less if they knew that video review could exonerate them.

It is also a concern that this would create more interruptions, but I think that is secondary.

Then, could an individual league do this anyway? Well, a league can do whatever it wants, really, as long as they comply with certain basics, like sporting codes and anti-doping regulations. They don't have to follow the official rules 100%. Major League Soccer, for example, has experimented with numerous rule changes. Or a league could play the whole game indoor on a smaller field, which of course many in fact do.

But if FIFA or UEFA, say, feel strongly about this, and I think they do, they could sanction anyone who tries by saying, for example, only teams that play without video review can participate in the World Cup or the Champions League. That would probably convince everyone. There are many quite benign regulations like that, in fact. For example, you need to play on natural grass if you want to try to participate in the World Cup.

  • "The governing bodies are very much concerned that the game is played at all levels according to the same rules" -- well, that's a rant in itself for any fan. They don't care whether there's the same number of officials at all levels (there aren't), the same requirements on pitch conditions, lighting, etc. They care deeply about things that second-guess the referee, though. One almost suspects that "consistency" is a ruse to keep the tech out, since it's obviously too expensive for minor leagues. Jan 22, 2015 at 19:39

As time goes by, things change.

Several domestic European leagues have already started using VAR, including the top ones (e.g, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and Portuguese Primeira Liga).

FIFA doesn't prevent this at all and actually on the contrary started using it at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, having previously tested it during the 2017 Confederations Cup.


Well.. it can be use in a non official way. The rules clearly states that no one but the referee can make decisions over the course of the game. He can ask the field assistants about game related issues, but he has the last word about it. Rugby use tech to sort out difficult plays (usually to know if a try is Ok or not). And in that case there is a referee looking at a tv screen that makes the call. But in the case of football, there are still argument that tv review will kill the game.

Yesterday I saw that even Basketball use it (didn't know about it, but happens on SA-Clipper game).

Since football rules are a lot about interpretation of what just has happen (eg: not always touching the ball with the hand is a foul), FIFA is still arguing that it will just cut the game momentum (but in other sports is ok). So since football is a business (IMHO), I think they didn't want to put on problems minor leagues (on poor countries), since if it is mandatory, it will involve a lot of effort. But again, usually not all rules are mandatory, so we will never know the real reason.

The use of mark on the field (using a spray can with foam) was first tested on the second division of the argentina league, for about two years. Now is used in all america, But I don't remember if it is used anywhere else. Every rule is tested for a long long time.

I will look for the newspaper article, But I readed that they will test the goal cam on some upcoming matches. (the rules are usually tested on young players championships).

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