Innovation Road Map to 2022
After the successful implementation of the video assistant referee (VAR) system following its incorporation into the Laws of the Game in March 2018, FIFA would like to further improve VAR technology at all levels of the game.
Consultation process and key principles
In order to garner important feedback on the use of the new technology in competitions worldwide and to learn more about the possible areas for improvement, FIFA organised a consultative VAR technology workshop in September 2019 in Zurich, which was attended by representatives from over 20 competition organisers, the FIFA Refereeing Subdivision and The IFAB. During this consultation process, the group identified three key principles for the future development of VAR technology:
- continued development of additional and more accurate information to assist the decision making process;
- making the review process as efficient as possible; and
- making VAR technology more affordable to enable its use at all levels of the game.
Objectives and priorities
Based on these principles, the group agreed on three high-priority objectives and two of lower priority for the next development phase for VAR technology, to run up until 2022. In the discussion with the competition organisers, it became obvious that artificial intelligence will play an important role to achieve these objectives and therefore new technologies, such as limb tracking and automated TV production, could potentially support the development of VAR technology at all levels of the game.
Innovation road map and reporting
With the main focus on the three top priorities for the future development of VAR technology, the FIFA Club World Cup 2019™ served as the first official testing event for the innovation road map with a view to 2022. For 2020, additional testing events will be identified in close collaboration with supporting competition organisers in order that new and existing technologies can be tested and developed further. A summary of the results of the testing events, as well as a proposal for the testing in 2021, will be presented at The IFAB’s Annual Business Meeting at the end of 2020 and subsequently shared with all competitions that are using VAR or are interested in the subject.
Collaboration with competition organisers
FIFA would like to collaborate with competition organisers that are interested in being directly involved in the development process for the next generation of VAR technology. The participating competition organisers and FIFA created the FIFA Working Group for Innovation Excellence and the development of “VAR technology 2.0” is this group’s pilot project, with clear objectives to be attained by 2022. The aims of this platform are to discuss and coordinate the next development steps, exchange experiences and explore new ideas. FIFA signed a memorandum of understanding with each member of the group, confirming the parties’ intention to work closely and transparently together in order to achieve the identified objectives in due time.
Who is involved in the Working Group for Innovation Excellence?
All participants in the working group have experience with VAR, have shown interest in proactively supporting FIFA with the development of the next generation of VAR technology and have signed a memorandum of understanding with FIFA. They are (in alphabetical order):
- Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
- Brazilian Football Association (CBF)
- Confederation of African Football (CAF)
- Dutch Football Association (KNVB)
- Football Federation Australia (FFA)
- German Football Association (DFB)
- German Football League (DFL)
- Major League Soccer (MLS)/the Professional Referee Organization (PRO)
- Polish Football Association (PZPN)
- Premier League (EPL)/Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL)
- South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL)
- Spanish Football Association (RFEF)
- Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)