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Sports

Video Assisted Referee helps Leicester getting second goal

media Soccer Football - FA Cup Third Round Replay - Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - January 16, 2018 Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Darren Staples REUTERS

Leicester made history as English football's first beneficiaries of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system. The replay technology was used to award their second goal in a 2-0 FA Cup win over Fleetwood on Tuesday.

Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho ran onto a Riyad Mahrez pass to slot home in the 77th minute of the third round replay, but he didn’t know if he was offside or not.

For referee Mike Jones, it was clear: he did rule offside.

But then there was doubt, and during a short while, the attack was analysed by the Video Assistant Referee assistant Mike Jones, who checked the shot from different angles on different screens, to conclude that, infact, Iheanacho was onside.

The decision was changed and referee Jon Moss awarded a goal.

The VAR system was first used in England earlier this month for Brighton's FA Cup third round tie against Crystal Palace and the League Cup semi-final first leg between Chelsea and Arsenal.

But this was the first time it had actually been needed to reverse a decision.

"I didn't know if I was onside or offside but I agree totally now that I was onside," Iheanacho said.

According to FIFA, a VAR decision has three stages:

  • After an incident or an uncertainty, the referee informs the VAR assistants that a decision should be reviewed.
  • The video footage is reviewed by the VARs, who advise the referee via headset what the video shows.
  • The referee decides to review the video footage on the side of the field of play before taking the appropriate action/decision, or the referee accepts the information from the VARs and takes the appropriate action/decision

The VAR can be used in case of goals, penalty decisions, red card incidents or mistaken identity, when a referee warns, or sends off, the wrong player.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) decided in March 2016 to commence a trial with VAR technology that was to last “a minimum of two years” before making a final decision on whether video officials will become a permanent asset to matches.

On 7 April 2017, the A-League in Australia became the first professional outfit to use a VAR system, when Melbourne City played Adelaide United.

VAR’s were also introduced in the US, the 2017-18 Bundesliga season in Germany, Italy’s Serie A season and the finals of the 2016-17 Taça de Portugal. The first time France used the VAR was during a friendly against Italy in September 2017. France won 3-1.

The system has its critics: Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane called the system "a source of confusion," and midfielder Luka Modrić said he “disliked the system.”

( - with AFP)

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