The VAR team “looked at 335 incidents” during the Group stage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, FIFA announced on Friday. They claim that 99.3% of the refereeing decisions made with VAR assistance are correct, compared to 95% without.
During the first 48 matches, “VAR was used to verify all the goals (122 in the Group stage) and a large number of other incidents. There was a total average of 6.9 checks per match”, says FIFA’s head of refereeing and former Italian referee Pierluigi Collina. “17 of these 335 incidents called for more thorough VAR checks”, he said.
He went on to explain that “the referee looked at the pitch itself in 14 cases. In three cases an additional referee to the VAR referee in the VAR room watched the video too”. These three cases were an offside, a surface incident and a case of mistaken identity.
During the Group stage, a total of 14 decisions were changed and three were confirmed thanks to VAR. The three confirmed were one penalty that was given and two that weren’t. FIFA has said that 95% of the refereeing decisions for these 335 incidents were correct first time. However, 14 decisions were changed because of VAR so the percentage of correct decisions all told was 99.3%.
The average time for a VAR decision during this World Cup (the first to use it) is currently 80 seconds. “In certain cases, the decision could have been made earlier but the referee waited a few more seconds to be sure of making the right decision”, says Pierluigi Collina.