USA TODAY Sports’ Martin Rogers takes a look at the replay system used in the Women’s World Cup.
LOS ANGELES – The Women’s World Cup kicked off on Friday, and the referees in charge of making game-changing decisions during the tournament are getting some help.
Video Assistant Referee – or VAR – is a review system to help officials make the correct call on a play. A VAR team has access to all of the regular and slow-motion cameras in the stadium to review certain calls.
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There are four types of calls referees and the VAR team can review:
- Goals: They can either confirm or reverse a goal or no-goal call determined on the field.
- Penalties: They can determine whether a penalty should be assessed or withdrawn.
- Direct red cards: If a player is assessed a direct red card, the player must leave the rest of the game and has to sit out the next game. Their team must also play without replacing that player. VAR can assist in determining the need for a red card.
- Mistaken identity: This helps to make sure the correct player receives a penalty or call.
The VAR team, comprising official FIFA referees, assists when a referee on the field requests a review; or the VAR team can suggest to the referee to review a play if they determine a call was missed. However, the final decision can be made only by the referee at the game, even if they receive assistance from the VAR team.
VAR was first introduced by FIFA during the 2018 men’s World Cup tournament in Russia and has been used in the Nations League and the African Champions League, where VAR calls have caused controversy and even ordered a rematch.
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The Women’s World Cup continues through July 7.