Croatian First League to Implement VAR Next Season

Daniela Rogulj

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From next season, VAR (Video Assistant Referee) will be used in the Croatian First League, while some games could even see the video technology this season.

Thus, Zagreb will host a kick-off meeting on January 17, 2019, with delegations from FIFA and IFAB, the body that sets football rules. Following the meeting, the Croatian Football Federation will get approval to initiate the VAR implementation procedure. After the approval, education will begin, which will be passed by all judges except those who will be removed from the list next season, reports on December 23, 2018. 

Everyone is obliged to complete the education, and all referees must pass, except those who will not referee in the league next season. The Referee’s commission allegedly already made a list of 10 + 10 judges for the autumn. 

Referees on the pitch must learn specific steps, while VAR referees must complete the full training, which consists of seven steps. Education is necessary to avoid chaos due to the inconsistent or inadequate application of VAR which results in too many interruptions in the game.

One of the interesting details, for example, is if a VAR judge checks whether there was a penalty, they must complete the entire action, and in that case, they may see an offense at the beginning of the action, on the other half of the field. Un that event, the game stops there. Therefore, there would be no penalty.

VAR will be applied to all matches as it would be unfair to use it for derbies only. In this season, however, the new technology could be tested in a Cup final or a league match if there is an educated referee VAR team. 

The Croatian Football Federation will finance all the costs of the technology, and the clubs must only provide a room for this purpose. The clubs also need to ensure their safety, however, as it had happened before that hooligans attacked the VAR judges, whose room was in the support area.

The cost of introducing VAR is $1.5 million, though HNS has applied for the FIFA Forward program, which can cover 80 percent of the costs. The rest will be funded by HNS. Each stadium must have an exclusive license for VAR, issued by FIFA. Thus, if Rudeš drops out of the league, ten of the Croatian stadiums will have to get this license.

All clubs in the Croatian First League had to give consent to use VAR in the competition.

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