Bundesliga, MLS among competitions to test video replays

By Brian Homewood ZURICH (Reuters) - Germany's Bundesliga and Major League Soccer (MLS) in the United States are among the competitions which will be used to test video replays in soccer, the sport's rule-making body IFAB said on Thursday. Tests with video replay technology would also take place in several competitions in Brazil and the Netherlands, the Australia A-League and the Portuguese Cup, plus the Club World Cup in Japan in December, IFAB said. In March, IFAB approved a two-year trial period allowing the technology to be used in four questionable cases: to determine whether a goal had been scored or not, sendings-off, penalties and mistaken identity. The system will allow an additional referee known as a VAR (video assistant referee) to have access to video replays during a match. The video referee can either review an incident on request from the match referee or advise the officials on the field on incidents they may have missed. Initial tests would be "offline" and would have no impact on the game, IFAB said. Instead they would allow video referees to "familiarise themselves with the setup, assess video replays and practise making calls on clear match-changing incidents but without communicating with the referee." Live tests are not expected to start until next year when all participants are familiar with the set up. “IFAB believes the best way to answer the question of whether the use of VARs will improve the game is to test it in different regions, so we are delighted to already have competitions across four confederations sign up,” said IFAB Secretary Lukas Brud. Initially resistant to the use of technology, IFAB took the plunge when it approved the use of goal-line technology in 2012, used in cases where it was not immediately clear whether the ball had entered the goal. Since then, there have been a growing number of calls for the use of video replays in other aspects of the game. Referees have only a split second to make decisions which are reviewed in minute detail by television networks, and can sometimes be unaware of mistakes that have been beamed to millions of viewers around the world. Players have also become increasingly adept at drawing fouls or making it the faintest of touches look like a heavy challenge. (Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Clare Lovell)