Don Garber wants MLS to use video assistant referee system in 2017

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MLS commissioner Don Garber has said he hopes a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system will be implemented during the second half of the 2017 regular season.

"We have been deeply analysing the use of video assistants for referees for more than two years," he said in a wide-ranging interview with ESPN FC.

"We were one of the first leagues to do so, and we will be one of the first leagues to hopefully roll it out after the All-Star Game in 2017."

Last August, MLS and the United Soccer League received approval from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to conduct live VAR experiments in select USL matches last season.

In June, MLS was named as one of six leagues around the world for video replay testing over a two-year period.

"We still have a lot of work to do with IFAB and FIFA and the other leagues to finalise the plan, but I think it's really going to be a great enhancement for the game," Garber added.

IFAB has said the VAR system will consist of an additional referee positioned in a booth with technology that allows access to video from every available camera angle.

A communications system will allow the VAR to alert and advise the head referee on "game-changing" decisions including goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and mistaken identity.

Garber added that the technology will be tested during the first half of the 2017 season.

"I for one have been a strong proponent for using technology in soccer where it can enhance the game," he said.

"I was really pleased to see that IFAB has risen up to understand that a fan in the stadium or at home can see whether or not a call is right or wrong.

"To not provide our officials with the same opportunity to me is just not right. FIFA and IFAB have been so focused and so ambitious in this, and I think it's a really positive statement about the sport at the highest levels as it relates to rules."

Garber stressed that he did not expect the system to be perfect initially, but that it would be eventually.

"It will certainly take a lot of time before it becomes part of the ecosystem of the game here and everywhere around the world," he said.

"But it's a big focus of ours and a deep investment that we're preparing for in 2017."