MLS confirms implementation of VAR after All-Star Game

A summertime visit of La Liga and Champions League winner Real Madrid for the All-Star Game will not be the most notable occurrence of the 2017 MLS season.

The league announced Thursday that video review will be used by officiating crews in all league matches starting Aug. 5, three days after the All-Stars take on Real Madrid at Soldier Field in Chicago.

It will be used in all league games, playoff matches and the MLS Cup final subject to the procedures and conditions that have been tested around the world for the past few years.

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system uses a fifth match official in a booth equipped with monitors that are used to access all camera angles and broadcast replays. The VAR will be able to communicate with the head referee through headsets incidents regarding four situations:

1) goals;
2) penalty kicks;
3) straight red cards; and
4) cases of mistaken identity.

In addition to reviewing plays, the VAR will be able to inform the referee of possible fouls and incidents he and the other on-field officials may have missed. Officials can review incidents and plays that lead up to a goal, fouls that could be either penalty kicks or free kicks,  incidents that could be yellow cards instead of red cards, and situations where the wrong players or coaches may have been punished.

Former English League and FIFA referee Howard Webb, hired in December as the Manager of VAR operations for the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), will supervise the system’s implementation and use.

He will host a video presentation Friday at 2 p.m. ET for media members that fans can also view on and the MLS YouTube channel.

MLS was one of several leagues that petitioned FIFA to conduct tests of video review. Dozens of such tests have been used during USL and MLS games the past two seasons. The German Bundesliga has approved the use of VAR in league matches next season, though it will use a different system than the one to be used by MLS.

In MLS, the head referee will be in communication with the VAR to discuss situations and incidents, and retains authority for the final decision and changes. A monitor near the sideline is used by the referee to review the relevant images. The Bundesliga will use a system similar to those utilized by Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, in which all games being played are monitored and reviewed at the same location.

PRO has held training camps for the use of VAR, and MLS has hosted workshops and conducted numerous live and offline tests in league games, the Generation adidas Cup, and USL matches. for youth academy teams and in reserve team matches in the USL. The first test during a competitive match was held last August during a USL game at Red Bull Arena.
1 comment about "MLS confirms implementation of VAR after All-Star Game".
  1. PJ , July 21, 2017 at 9:16 a.m.

    "A monitor near the sideline is used by the referee to review the relevant images. "
    This concerns me. I hope play is not stopped while the head referee reviews the play. Any stoppage of play opens the door for TV commercials, which would ruin the beautiful game.

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