FIFA Hasn’t Committed To VAR For Women’s World Cup, But It’s Not Time To Panic Just Yet

Will the 2019 Women’s World Cup use VAR? That’s the question on the minds of the countless players and coaches preparing for this summer’s tournament. 

About four months away from the start of the competition, FIFA has yet to confirm whether VAR will be in use at the Women’s World Cup. 

But it’s not time to panic just yet, for a couple reasons. 

The first reason Jill Ellis, who has said it would be “insulting” if VAR wasn’t used, shouldn’t be worried is that last year it took until March for FIFA to confirm the 2018 men’s World Cup would be the first feature VAR, despite the use of the video assistant referee at the 2017 Confederation’s Cup. There is still plenty of time for FIFA to commit to video replay for the Women’s World Cup.

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Even more promising, FIFA is secretly training its 27 referees and 48 assistant referees in the use of VAR, The Associated Press reported this week.

FIFA had not disclosed these training matches and seminars that took place in Qatar until the AP’s report and later confirmed the report. In a statement to the AP, FIFA said a decision on VAR would be made “in due time.” 

“It’s similar to the men’s preparation,” FIFA said in the statement to the AP. “To have the best preparation the referees will have VAR training and in addition to that they will officiate games of the Al Kass Cup.

“The final decision if VAR will be used at the Women’s World Cup will be taken by the FIFA council.”

The aforementioned Al Kass Cup is a U-17 club competition being played in Doha, Qatar. The competition kicked off on Monday, officiated by Women’s World Cup referees. Claudia Umpierrez of Uruguay made the first use of VAR on a goal disallowed for offside. 

Interestingly, despite the use of VAR in matches officiated by these women, all of the Video Assistant Referees are men, some of whom performed the same role at last summer’s World Cup. This could be due to the fact no women’s domestic leagues currently use VAR, but we wonder if this will also be the case come the Women's World Cup this summer. 

So while FIFA hasn’t confirmed the use of Women's World Cup VAR this summer, it appears to be preparing for its use. That might be the best information we have until FIFA makes a formal announcement, probably in March. It is odd though that FIFA did not make this news public before the AP’s reporting.

Whether or not we get Women's World Cup VAR, at least the tournament will be played on real grass instead of turf this year. 

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