The system will now be used by the nation’s football association after proving its success in previous tournaments.
All competitions that fall under the Qatar Football Association (QFA) will now use the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after FIFA granted its official green light to the federation.
A three-season trial run of the technology in Qatar was deemed to be successful, giving QFA the authority to continue using it to enhance the game and ensure fair play across all of its matches.
The new announcement comes as Qatar gears up to host the world’s biggest football tournament next November, which will also see the usage of VAR to ensure accuracy.
What is ‘VAR’?
VAR is used to help the referee review and finalise controversial or vague decisions on the pitch, including infractions that warrant canceling or allowing goals.
This allows for the reinforcement of the decision-making process, supporting referees in their job on the field and eliminating clear and obvious refereeing errors.
However, the system is only used for “clear and obvious errors” or “serious missed incidents” in four match-changing situations, including goals, penalty decisions, direct red-card incidents, and mistaken identity.
Top European football league competitions have already introduced the VAR system to provide more accurate decisions in terms of ‘unsure’ goals and cards. One of the biggest leagues, La Liga, implemented the system at the beginning of the 2018–19 season.
VAR was expanded in the 2021/22 UEFA competition calendar and will also be used during the third season of the UEFA Nations League in 2022–2023, as well as in the UEFA EURO 2024 play-offs and European Qualifiers.
Likewise, FIFA included the VAR system in the 2018/2019 edition of the Laws of the Game to help referees with their decision-making. It also introduced the FIFA Quality Programme for VAR Technology.
However, despite the deployment of modern technology at the beautiful game, fans and football enthusiasts, including footballers, remain pessimistic.
Reports alleged that according to the Premier League, a full VAR review took an average of 50 seconds in the 2019/2020 season and VAR checks were delaying games by 22 seconds on average. Although the lost time is allocated to extra or injury time, the tool still leads to “many pauses” in a football competition.
Another reason for the controversy behind the VAR includes its lack of human perception.
“For example, in a situation with Arsenal player Bukayo Saka against Fulham FC, VAR showed Saka being offside, which stopped a crucial winning goal from being counted just because his toe was over the offside line. Though the right decision was made, this situation shows how VAR and the referees sometimes analyse plays to the limits and fail to consider humane mistakes that don’t even affect the play,” one report said.