VAR to make Champions League bow from 2019/20 season  

UEFA have confirmed that they intend to introduce Video Assistant Referees (VAR) into Europe’s elite club competition, the Champions League, from next season. VAR played a major role in this summer’s World Cup in Russia, with champions France benefitting on a number of occasions. It is also currently being used in select FA Cup and Carabao Cup fixtures in England.

Premier League clubs voted against its introduction for the current campaign although it could play a role in the top flight next season. UEFA intend to roll it out in the playoff rounds of next season’s Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup followed by the Europa League a year later.

Aleksander Seferin, president of UEFA, batted for its inclusion, stating, “For me, VAR is not completely clear, but we also know that there's no way back anymore. Technology will come sooner or later. The plan, for now, is to use it from the next season. This is the plan but of course, I am not an expert. But it is not so easy because we have to choose the provider.

'It's not easy to organise a competition across the continent with all the referees so we have some issues,” he added.

Seferin also did not completely rule out its inclusion for the final of this season’s Champions League although he did not sound too optimistic. He also explained the challenges of implementing VAR successfully in the Champions League, sentiments that were echoed by Giorgio Marchetti, UEFA’s deputy secretary.

“We can't probably centralise operations because of connectivity. So, you can't get the same connectivity from Kazakhstan, from Germany and from Portugal, which means that most probably we have to decentralise all the operations. This makes the operation of VAR on a European scale very complex. Obviously (it is) not impossible, but very complex,” Marchetti explained.

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