VAR gets World Cup green light and permanent approval by football's lawmakers and FIFA

The technology has been rolled out on a trial basis across the world over the last two years, and it has now received the governing body's approval

Video Assistant Referees (VAR) are set to feature at World Cup 2018 and will soon become an integral part professional football after its use was officially approved by the sport's lawmakers.

The technology has been rolled out on a trial basis for the last two years, with over 1,000 games featuring cameras to help referees in crunch decisions.

The Bundesliga and Italy's Serie A are among the top leagues to use it, while VAR has also featured in the FA Cup and South America's Copa Libertadores. 

Now, it has received the thumbs up from the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which stated the technology was "an historic step for greater fairness in football." 

"The IFAB unanimously approved the use of video assistant referees at its 132nd Annual General Meeting that took place at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich today," it confirmed in a statement released on Saturday .

"This landmark meeting, chaired by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, represents a new era for football with video assistance for referees helping to increase integrity and fairness in the game.

"Prior to taking its decision, the members of The IFAB was presented with the results of the independent analysis of the use of VARs conducted by Belgian university KU Leuven since the beginning of the VAR experiment in March 2016.

"The philosophy of VARs is ‘minimum interference – maximum benefit’ which aims to reduce unfairness caused by ‘clear and obvious errors’ or ‘serious missed incidents’."

The ruling means there will almost certainly be VAR used at this year's World Cup in Russia, with a final decision expected to be made at the next FIFA Council meeting on March 16 in Bogota.

According to the IFAB's guidelines, VAR will be implemented only for disputed goals, penalties, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity. 

The roll-out has not been without its controversies, with a recent FA Cup clash between Manchester United and Huddersfield marred by a questionable VAR decision to rule out Juan Mata's goal. 

Kevin Friend VAR Juan Mata Ashley Young Manchester United FA Cup

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Fans were bemused by the use of curved lines to show Mata had strayed offside, although the company responsible for the technology insisted it was a technical error that did not influence the decision itself.

La Liga confirmed it will implement VAR from 2018-19 but the Champions League will not have the technology to call upon as UEFA remains sceptical.

The IFAB also sanctioned the use of an extra substitute during extra time of cup ties, an initiative that had also been rolled out on a trial basis over the last two years.