UEFA to Implement VAR in Champions League 2018/19 Knockout Stages

Published on December 4th, 2018
Written By: Ned Wilson

Video Assistant Referee - VAR - Illustration. UEFA has announced that they will bring forward the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology in the Champions League already in the knockout stages of the 2018/19 season. The move comes ahead of the previously planned rollout scheduled for next season.

The VAR system has proved to be a successful addition to the game, with Serie A, Bundesliga, Primera and J-League introducing the technology last year, while La Liga and MLS followed suit a year later.

VAR is already in use to a certain extent in UEFA sanctioned competitions, but as of this spring it will become a permanent feature in the Champions League and from 2019/20 season on it will feature in all other UEFA sanctioned competitions, more notably the Europa League and UEFA League of Nations.

Analysis of VAR use in Italian Serie A in its first season has shown that the percentage of referee errors has been reduced to less than 1.0%, while it would have been 5.2% had VAR not been used. The Serie A has also experienced a fall in bookings, red cards, simulations and wasted time.

Bundesliga had some initial problems with the introduction of the system, mostly technical in nature, however, as the season progressed the speed and frequency of VAR use increased, all to the benefit of the game.

The available data for this season so far shows that Italians had 21 referee calls overturned by VAR, German Bundesliga has had 19 overturns, MLS has had 37 with season coming to an end, and Portuguese Primera is standing at 14 overturns.

There is no doubt that the VAR technology will be a welcome and long overdue addition to the European marquee competition when it is introduced in the first knockout stage of the Champions League scheduled for February 12th 2019.

The draw for the knockout stages will be held in Nyon on December 17th.

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