Videos + Referees = Match Made In Heaven?

March 1, 2019

If you’re a soccer player, you probably know that a referee’s job isn’t easy. Players are routinely disappointed by a ref’s calls, and games can hinge on a single decision. Plus, it’s not easy for a referee to make split-second decisions when players are all around, crowds are cheering or booing, and there is the pressure of making or breaking a game!

SounderBruce [CC BY-SA 4.0]
So when video assistant referees (VAR) came along, regular referees got excited. Beginning in 2018 at the FIFA Men’s World Cup in Russia, these new referees help out by analyzing videos produced by four cameras on the field. The referees on the field still make the final calls, but the video assisted referees can help evaluate plays and relieve their fellow referees of some stressful doubt. Great idea, right? Not everyone can be a VAR though! The job requires specialized training and complex skills.

One might expect that the FIFA Women’s World Cup would have these referee as well, right? Well, the FIFA council is taking its time deciding whether to introduce VARs into the Women’s World Cup too. The US Women’s coach said that it would be insulting if they weren’t used for women as well. We, for one, certainly hope to see VARs at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in June 2019!

Interesting Fact: Did you know that the FIFA Men’s World Cup prize money is $400 million? What do you think the women’s prize money is? $400 million too? Nope. The women receive only $30 million for winning their World Cup.