FIFA president Gianni Infantino says the results of the video replay trial conducted during the Club World Cup in Japan have been “extremely positive”.
The replay system, which allows referees to instantly review footage of potentially “game-changing” incidents, was used for the first time on Wednesday as Kashima Antlers were awarded a penalty in their 3-0 semi-final victory over Atletico Nacional.
Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai was able to play back footage of an infringement on Kashima’s Daigo Nishi via a pitch-side monitor and concluded that it was a foul worthy of a spot-kick.
"In the first game with Kashima, the referee didn't see the situation and the video assistant referee saw a clear tackle so he interfered," said former Dutch international and current FIFA technical director Marco Van Basten.
"The referee watched the television and said 'OK, you are right and I give a penalty.' So in the end it took a few seconds too much but it was the right decision."
However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the new technology. When Cristiano Ronaldo scored in Real Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Club America, Paraguayan referee Enrique Caceres initially requested confirmation from the video assistant that Ronaldo had not been in an offside position before the goal was eventually awarded without the benefit of a replay.
Ronaldo was overheard saying "The television doesn't work, huh?" as he left the field at the end of the match.
"When Ronaldo scored the second goal it was a clear situation and there was no offside," explained Van Basten.
"So in the end it was good and the right decision was made. Only the communication between the video assistant referee and the referee was not optimum."
Despite some initial teething troubles, FIFA president Infantino is adamant that the trial has been a success.
"Of course there are learnings, of course there are a few topics that we have to look into and discuss in more detail, but the result is extremely positive,” he said.
“Why? Because the referee has been able to take the right decision and justice and transparency have been brought to the game."