Football lawmakers will review Video Assistant Referees (VARs) and concussion at a technical summit on Wednesday – Sky Sports News’ chief reporter Bryan Swanson looks at what they will discuss.
Is VAR staying in football?
Absolutely – but there is always room for improvement. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) determines the laws of the game. This is an opportunity to discuss whether any tweaks and changes need to be made to the system. VAR is the fourth item on the agenda.
Lawmakers will review the latest report on how it has been used in world football, including the Premier League, and discuss “proposed future developments”. Officials have remained tight-lipped about further developments, but Wednesday’s meeting is the start of a process which could lead to a law change being implemented at IFAB’s annual general meeting in early March.
Is IFAB happy with how VAR is being used in the Premier League?
IFAB includes the four British associations, so they will have been watching VAR’s introduction with close interest. But the laws of football affect every league and every competition in the world, so they will never make rash decisions.
After a predictably contentious introduction to England’s top league this season, it will be fascinating to see whether IFAB technical director, and former referee, David Elleray proposes any tweaks.
What about concussion?
Lawmakers will review whether to increase the length of time a player is assessed for concussion. UEFA wants IFAB to introduce temporary head injury substitutes – like those used in rugby union – to avoid complications associated with concussion.
One proposal involves a mandatory 10-minute test, rather than the current three-minute assessment, and a taskforce is likely to be created to assess its suitability. IFAB wants to ensure that enough time and expertise is dedicated to finding the best solution for the game.
However, there is renewed urgency for a change in the laws. According to new research, published on Monday, former players are three-and-a-half times more likely to die of dementia than people of the same age range in the general population.
“One of the things we’re pushing on, and I’ve spoken to FIFA and UEFA about this, is to introduce concussion substitutes as quickly as possible,” said FA chairman Greg Clarke this week.
What else is on the agenda?