UEFA have confirmed they will use Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in the UEFA Champions League next season.
The governing body of European soccer made the announcement on Thursday, with the system currently not in use across any of its club competitions.
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A meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee in Switzerland confirmed the decision.
In a statement on their website, UEFA confirmed the system will be in place for the 2019-20 season in the UCL (from the playoff round onwards) and they plan to introduce it for the group stage of the Europa League in 2020-21. The system will also be used at EURO 2020, the 2019 UEFA Super Cup and the finals of the UEFA Nations League in 2021.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin believes that now is the right time to introduce VAR.
“We are confident that introducing Video Assistant Referees in August 2019 will give us enough time to put in place a robust system and to train match officials to ensure an efficient and successful implementation of VAR in the UEFA Champions League, the world’s flagship club competition,” Ceferin said.
Given the harsh sending off for Cristiano Ronaldo in Juventus’ win at Valencia last week, plus several contentious decisions in recent seasons in the UCL, it is surprising it has taken UEFA this long.
Despite doubts ahead of the 2018 World Cup this summer, VAR was used almost perfectly by officials and it straightened out plenty of big decisions.