Xinhua News Agency/PA Images VAR will be in operation for the rest of the European qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.
# On Second Thoughts
VAR belatedly introduced for remainder of World Cup qualification campaign
The system was controversially not in use to now, to Ireland’s detriment.

VAR WILL BE used for the rest of the European qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup, Uefa announced on Thursday.

The first three rounds were played without VAR but that will change when competition resumes in September.

“The initial plans to start using VAR in Uefa national team qualification competitions were postponed due to the logistical complications and risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic,” Uefa said on Thursday.

Stephen Kenny bemoaned the fact VAR wasn’t in operation during Ireland’s opening games, a 3-2 defeat to Serbia. Kenny felt aggrieved at the non-award of a penalty for a challenge on Aaron Connolly by Stefan Mitrovic, with a pitch-side video released subsequently showing Callum Robinson questioning the referee about the lack of VAR. 

In the interests of balance, Seamus Coleman was fortunate to get away with an accidental foul in the box on Dusan Vlahovic, when the Irish captain slipped and caught the Serbian striker as he was on the floor. 

A more serious ramification for Ireland’s qualifying hopes came in the next game in Belgrade, as Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal wrongly ruled out. Had the goal stood, Portugal would have won the game and Serbia would have been two points worse off. 

The governing body for European football said it would supply “specific vans” to carry out the reviews “on site at the stadium of the host association”.

VAR is used in the five main European leagues (England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France) as well as the Champions League.

With reporting by  © – AFP, 2021

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