VAR at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019™
I think everyone in our sport realized it was such a positive, and to now have the same access to the same technology, it's great. It's going to be an intense World Cup and I think having the benefit of VAR is important.
With the introduction of VAR at the FIFA Women’s World Cup justice will be done to the development in women's football. The VAR further upgrades women's football, thereby ensuring more justice.
5 essential facts you didn’t know about VAR
- A video assistant referee team supports the match officials during all 52 matches. Learn more
- The video assistant referee team is located in a video operation room in Paris. Learn more
- The video assistant referee team has access to all relevant broadcast cameras. Learn more
- The video assistant referee does not take any decisions; he/she supports the referee in the decision making process and the final decision can only be taken by the referee. Learn more
- Football fans will be informed about the review process by broadcasters, commentators and infotainment. Learn more
The VAR Team
The team consists of the video assistant referee (VAR) and his/her two assistant video assistant referees (AVARs). All of them are top FIFA match officials.
The FIFA Referees Committee has selected 27 referees and 47 assistant referees, representing 42 different countries, for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™. Ten of the fifteen selected video match officials were VARs or referees at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. The referees selected for France 2019 have already demonstrated their skills at previous tournaments, including the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 and Uruguay 2018, as well as the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea in 2016 and last year’s edition in Brittany, France.
Two replay operators select and provide the best camera angles. One of them preselects the most likely camera angles while the other provides the final angles chosen by the VAR and the AVAR responsible for offsides for each checked or reviewed incident.
The AVAR2 is an assistant video assistant referee located at the offside station. He/she anticipates and checks any potential offside situations to speed up the VAR check-and-review process.
The AVAR1 concentrates on the main camera and keeps the VAR informed about live play if an incident is being checked or reviewed.
The VAR watches the main camera on the upper monitor and checks or reviews incidents on the quad-split monitor. He/She is responsible for leading the VAR team and communicating with the referee on the field of play.
FIFA REFEREE PREPARATION
FIFA's referees trained in Doha, Qatar, at a referee training seminar in preparation for the FIFA Women's World Cup in France.
The Video Operation Room (VOR)
The video assistant referee team supports the referee from a video operation room (VOR) in the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Paris. All relevant camera feeds from the nine stadiums are provided to the VOR through a fibre optic network. The referee on the pitch at each stadium talks to the VAR team via a sophisticated fibre-linked radio system.
The VAR team has access to all relevant FIFA host broadcaster camera feeds as well as two additional offside cameras, with the exception of a few cameras that do not cover the game.
The Decision Process
The video assistant referee team supports the decision-making process of the referee in four game-changing situations:
Goals and offences leading up to a goal
Penalty decisions and offences leading up to a penalty
Direct red card incidents only
Throughout a match, the video assistant referee team constantly checks for clear and obvious errors related to these four match-changing situations. The VAR team communicates with the referee only for clear and obvious mistakes or serious missed incidents.
For the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, the referees have received clear instructions on when to accept information from the video assistant referee and when to review the video footage on the side of the field of play before taking the appropriate action/decision.
The Virtual Offside Line
Virtual offside lines are computer-generated lines projected onto the broadcast image of the field of play to help the VAR determine whether an offside offense has occurred. The offside lines used are the best possible and most accurate lines that can be generated with existing technology due to calibration using multiple synchronised camera angles.
Virtual offside lines are superimposed on the broadcast image by computer software. Angle of view, lens distortion, field curvature and many other factors are considered when calculating the true position of the these lines. The lines will be calibrated before each match by the technology provider to take into account the exact pitch dimensions and conditions on the day. The VAR team will have various tools available for determining offside positions, which have been validated in a number of tests across different venues by an independent third party using survey grade equipment.
3D offside line system
Ever wondered how the 3D offside line system works? This video illustrates how the virtual offside line is placed on the field of play, showing the set-up by the technology provider and measurement by the test laboratory.
VAR Information System
To ensure that all football fans in the stadium and watching on TV are well informed during a review process, FIFA has developed a VAR information system for broadcasters, commentators and infotainment. For each match, a FIFA staff member informs the broadcasters, commentators and infotainment about the different steps of the review process, including information about the reason for the review and the outcome of the review, via a networked touch tablet.
The person operating the tablet is located in the video operation room and has access to the audio from the referee communication system as well as the camera angles the VAR is looking at. The VAR information system will also be used to automatically create VAR-specific graphic templates for TV and the giant screen in the stadium.
Making sure the technology at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ functions seamlessly is a very complex task that requires a lot of planning, coordination and organisation. Due to this, FIFA has multiple technology providers who are experts in their field to ensure the technology functions correctly. The providers for each of the technologies are as follows:
Video Assistant Referee (VAR): Riedel Communications GmbH & Co. KG (audio) and Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd (video)
Goal-Line Technology (GLT): Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd