Understanding FIFA's VAR Technology Ahead of 2022 World Cup

Understanding FIFA's VAR Technology Ahead of 2022 World Cup originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

There is no worse feeling than seeing your favorite World Cup team face a bad call that costs them the game.

While it’s bound to happen once in a while, the introduction of VAR in soccer has significantly curbed faulty finals in soccer.

The 2022 World Cup is set for Nov. 20 to Dec. 18 in Qatar, featuring 32 teams.

Here’s everything you need to know about VAR in soccer, when it was introduced and its advantages:

What is VAR?

VAR is a Video Assistant Referee.

These qualified officials watch matches on numerous screens and are given the option to repeat the action in slow motion to review calls.

With high-tech electronics and screens, officiating is more accurate.

How accurate is VAR?

Before VAR was introduced in the English Premier League in 2018-19, the percentage of correct key match decisions was 82%.

With the use of VAR, the percentage of correct key match decisions between 2019-20 rose to 94%, according to a Premier League report.

The league reports that VAR is only used for “clear and obvious errors” or “serious missed incidents.”

Over the span of 2019-2020, 109 calls were overturned by VAR, making it an average of one overturned call per 3.5 matches.

When was VAR introduced?

VAR was first tested in the 2012-13 Dutch league season.

In 2018, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) approved trials and then the use of VAR in soccer.

In 2018, VAR was introduced to the Premier League for the 2019-20 season, pending testing. Testing was then confirmed successful and VAR was officially introduced.

In 2020, the IFAB decided to have FIFA be in charge of VAR.

When does VAR get involved in a game?

The only time VAR interferes is if the on-field referee asks for a call to be reviewed.

That said, VAR cannot overrule a referee but can provide advice. The VAR will communicate with the on-field referee when needed.

How will VAR be used at the 2022 World Cup?

After the successful use of VAR technology at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, it will be applied again in 2022.

The technology will include 12 tracking cameras at matches underneath the stadium roof, which will track the ball and players.

VAR tracks up to 29 data points of each athlete, 50 times per second, determining their exact position on the pitch, FIFA reported.

Additionally, a sensor will be placed inside the center of Al Rihla, the official soccer ball for Qatar, to add extra detection. The ball sends data 500 times per second to the video operation room.

While more tests will be conducted before the 2022 World Cup, the combination of the technology will make play as accurate as possible.