FIFA president Gianni Infantino has highlighted the need for video assistant referee (VAR) technology in the wake of Panama’s 2-1 win over Costa Rica in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.
The Panamanians helped eliminate the United States from a place in Russia next summer after being an awarded a goal despite the ball appearing to not cross the goal line in the 53rd minute.
The result, coupled with the U.S.’s 2-1 loss at Trinidad and Tobago, meant Panama qualified ahead of the Americans, who will miss out on their first World Cup since 1986.
Speaking at the presentation of the Women’s World Cup in Lyon, France, on Thursday, Infantino said similar incidents should not happen in the future.
“When you play a World Cup qualification game and that game is decided by a major error of interpretation by the referee, which can happen because they’re human beings like everyone else, then it is time to rectify things,” Infantino, who’s expressed his desire to have VAR at next summer’s World Cup, said.
“When the whole world has seen it in just a few seconds and the only one who hasn’t is the referee, not because he doesn’t want to but because he’s forbidden from seeing it, and it could be corrected then I think we should move with the times and take a step forward.”
Addressing a time frame, Infantino added that he wants VAR technology — which was used in the Confederations Cup this summer — implemented as soon as possible, but said a formal decision has yet to be made.
“We are prepared to put VAR into practice, but the decision hasn’t been taken yet,” he added.
“Every time video has been used, it has either confirmed a refereeing decision or corrected a wrong one.
“However, the objective of it is to only correct the big errors and not every single small detail in the game.”
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