FIFA holds first trials of VAR challenge system for reviews

How would a VAR challenge system work? (1:26)

Dale Johnson explains FIFA's trial for a VAR challenge system. (1:26)

FIFA has held the first trials of a new system of VAR which allows coaches to challenge a referee's decision, rather than the reviews only being undertaken by video officials.

The IFAB, football's lawmakers, committed to the endorsement of an additional "VAR light" -- which required fewer resources -- at its AGM in March 2023, with the intention of making it available across the game worldwide.

The new system, Football Video Support (VS), allows for the same situations to be challenged as in VAR -- goals, penalties, red cards and mistaken identity. Each team will be able to make two challenges per match. If the challenge is successful, the team keeps that review.

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The decision to request a review is the responsibility of the coach, who does so by twirling a finger in the air and giving the fourth official a card. The coach then says which kind of incident he wants to be reviewed. The players can recommend to the coach that a review is made, but activating it will remain with the coach. A replay operator would ensure the correct footage is shown.

Pierluigi Collina, FIFA's head of referees, said the first tests held during the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup, a FIFA youth competition in Zurich last week, went well.

"The outcome was very, very positive," Collina explained at the FIFA Congress in Bangkok. "Our aim is to continue to trial this new system, namely in our youth competitions.

"We hope to be able to give all of you who have indicated an interest in the possibility to implement this system in your competitions."

For now the challenge system is an internal FIFA trial and there is no option for leagues or competitions to request to be part of it, and there are no plans to introduce it at the top of the game.

VS is not intended to replace the version of VAR seen at the elite level, where there are the resources to have multiple cameras and officials working as video assistants.

However, it will give hope to leagues who have requested to trial a challenge system but have been repeatedly turned down by FIFA. Serie A first made the request to implement challenges in 2020, believing it would be less intrusive in the game.

If the trials prove successful and move through the levels to enter the Laws of the Game there would be no reason why a league couldn't chose to implement "VAR light" over the full system.