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Video Assistant Referee will debut in English football tonight

The technology will be employed during Crystal Palace’s FA Cup encounter with Brighton this evening.

A referee looks at his monitor (file photo).
A referee looks at his monitor (file photo).

VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE (VAR) technology will be in action during tonight’s FA Cup third round tie between Brighton and Crystal Palace (7.45pm).

The technology, which was used at the 2016 Club World Cup, has also been introduced in Germany, Italy and at the Confederations Cup.

VAR comes into play in four separate situations, termed as “match-changing” — Goals, penalties, straight red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

England’s friendly against Germany in November was the first time VAR had been available in that country, though the referee did not call upon it, while it will also be used in the Carabao Cup semi-final encounters between Chelsea and Arsenal, as well as the final.

A team of two referees will monitor footage from London, and a screen will be set up at the side of the field of play for the match referee’s use.

The referee can ask for VAR to be employed, or an official can be advised to review a decision using the tech.

Former referee Mike Riley, manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board, believes that there will need to be an adjustment period for most refs, and insists VAR is not “100% perfect”.

It’s going to take us time,” he told the BBC. “You’re actually asking a generation of referees to relearn or learn new processes and skills.

“It will never be 100% because it’s so subjective on certain things and we’re asking the clear and obvious question.

“We don’t want errors. If through this we make that 4% [of incorrect decisions] 2%, we’ve benefited the game.”

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