Bundesliga, MLS among competitions to trial video assistant referees

FIFA has announced that competitions in six countries -- including Germany's Bundesliga and United States' Major League Soccer -- have been approved to run experiments with video assistant referees (VARs).

The off-line experiments will not involve referees but FIFA says live trials could be run in games next year.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino says he hopes VARs will be used to support refs at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

As well as Bundesliga and MLS, the experiments will take place in Australia's A-League, the league and cups in Portugal, as well as unspecified competitions in Brazil and the Netherlands.

FIFA added in a statement: "Subject to the successful completion of initial tests, the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016 is also set to be used as a final test event before The IFAB allows participants to conduct live experiments early next year.

"An offline experiment represents a dry run whereby the VARs familiarise themselves with the setup, assess video replays and practice making calls on clear match-changing incidents but without communicating with the referee.

"This means there is no impact on the game, unlike during a live experiment when the match officials do communicate with each other and the referee can take decisions based on information provided by the VAR."

Video replay officiating would be restricted to decisions on goals being scored, penalties being awarded, players being sent off and cases of mistaken identity.

The only technology currently used in football is to rule on disputed goals.

The video assistance trials were approved at the annual meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in March.

IFAB secretary Lukas Brud said: "The IFAB believes the best way to answer the question of whether the use of VARs will improve the game is to test it in different regions, so we are delighted to already have competitions across four confederations sign up.

"The organisers of these competitions can now begin installing and testing video replay facilities as well as training match officials and technical staff in line with the protocol and in consultation with The IFAB and FIFA's Football Technology Innovation Department."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.