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Football Association keen to trial video evidence in FA Cup next season

Published 25/05/2016

Referee Mark Clattenburg (right) makes his point to Chelsea's Eden Hazard (left).
Referee Mark Clattenburg (right) makes his point to Chelsea's Eden Hazard (left).

The Football Association wants to trial video technology in the FA Cup next season.

English football's governing body is ready to sign up to a two-year experiment in the competition that would allow referees to be helped by a video assistant and watch replays on the side of the pitch.

The test has been proposed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) - the game's chief law-making organisation - and could be rolled out as early as August this year.

Press Association Sport understands the FA has indicated its willingness to adopt the technology in the FA Cup, although support from other associations is also likely to be needed. If successful, video assistant referees (VARs) could be officially introduced in 2018 or 2019.

IFAB, which has been looking into video technology since 2014 and decided in March to begin live experiments, hosted a three-day meeting in Amsterdam last week, explaining how the test will work.

It is understood referees will have radio communication with a video assistant, who can watch the match simultaneously with the benefit of the same replays available to a television viewer.

The referee will be able to ask for help if unsure about an incident or the video assistant can recommend a review if they feel a mistake has been made. If a solution is clear, the referee can immediately accept the video assistant's advice or alternatively choose to review the footage himself on a pitch-side monitor.

In this case, it is likely the referee would make a hand signal denoting a screen, similar to that used in cricket and rugby, and stop the game. Any delay would be added on as extra-time.

Reviews would only be possible for incidents relating to goals and direct goalscoring opportunities, red cards, penalties and cases of mistaken identity. Yellow cards, including second yellow cards leading to a sending off, would not be considered and there would be a cut-off point from the last restart in the match, before which any action would effectively be wiped.

IFAB secretary Lukas Brud told Press Association Sport: "The only way to see what works is to trial the technology in a live game and then we can see to what extent it might strengthen the position of referees.

"It could be we find it's not worth using because it creates more problems than it solves. It certainly will not end debates about decisions.

"But even if this technology improves decision-making by 10 per cent it will be a success and only by trialling it live can we see the challenges we need to face."

Holland has been conducting 'offline' trials, in which video technology is tested but not used to influence a game. The Dutch FA has reported back that it could correct approximately one in four match-changing incidents and take, on average, 12 seconds to do so.

Another IFAB meeting is scheduled for July, when those taking on video assistant referees will begin training, with offline tests to follow before the launch of live trials, starting in friendly fixtures.

The Barclays Premier League are understood to be interested in the experiment's results but disinclined to take a leading role in the testing process.

A spokesman said: "There are no plans to introduce video technology into our competition at the moment."

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