Webb: I would want VAR as a World Cup referee

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Howard Webb

Former FIFA and Premier League official Howard Webb believes referees will embrace video review at the World Cup next summer, saying he would want the system in place if he were officiating in Russia.

Webb retired as a referee in 2014 after officiating matches at two World Cups, including the 2010 final between Spain and the Netherlands. Earlier this year, the 46-year-old joined the Professional Referee Organization in the United States to oversee the implementation of the video assistant referee system in MLS.

The league has used VAR in 132 regular season matches and 12 playoff games since taking the system live in August, with Webb encouraged by the results.

"If I was one of the referees going to a big worldwide tournament like the World Cup, with the spotlight of the global media, would I want video review in my games? Absolutely, yes I would," Webb told Goal . "Would I rather go in with the safety net of having a VAR in place rather than having nobody there? Absolutely, I would.

"I haven't spoken to all of the officials, but the ones I do speak to feel the same by and large, and I'm sure the officials at the World Cup will feel the same. They'll feel comfortable and happy to have that system in place."

Webb and MLS vice president of competition Jeff Agoos traveled to Zurich last week to meet with executives from FIFA, the Bundesliga and Serie A to discuss the implementation of VAR in their respective competitions.

Having taken part in those talks, which included potential changes to VAR protocol, Webb feels confident in FIFA's commitment to making the system run smoothly next summer.

"FIFA are taking it very seriously," Webb said. "I was with FIFA last week and I know just how much they are investing in time and energy and effort to prepare their people to the best possible level.

"They're dealing with a global workforce from lots of different countries with different cultures and different languages, so it does present some other challenges that maybe we [in MLS] don't face in the same way.

"We've fed into the process our observations, our recommendations, and so have countries around the world. I'm hoping this collective knowledge that's building now can really be put to good use by all of us, including FIFA."