Gianni Infantino, the president of Fifa, said that making fans wait for VAR decisions “adds another layer of adrenaline” as he defended the technology on a day when new laws were revealed.
At the annual congress of Ifab, football’s rule-making body, changes to the handball law, the implementation of “semi-automated” offside rulings, and a potential redrawing of offside were decided upon, with each change planned with the VAR in mind.
Long VAR delays have become the norm for Premier League fans, but Infantino believes this has contributed to the spectacle. “Rather than removing items, it adds another layer of adrenaline to the game,” he explained. “Now, if you have any doubts, you search, you wait, you see, and that is the adrenaline that makes football what it is: the anticipation of a result.
“I believe VAR is providing and adding more fairness to the game. It improves the game’s integrity and assists referees in making the right decisions. When a decision is changed, it can take away the joy of others, but it brings joy to others. So, if you win a game, the joy is still there. You will not hear me criticize VAR in any way. All revolves around justice.”
The interpretation of the handball rule will be modified so that if a player handles inadvertently during the buildup, the target will not be disallowed. The news arrives too late for Fulham, who had a Josh Maja equalizer against Tottenham ruled out due to VAR. The legislation takes effect on July 1st worldwide, although it may be used at Euro 2020.
It also announced that semi-automated offside decisions will be trialed shortly, with linesmen receiving real-time updates – presumably through their headset – on the positions of players in an offensive move.