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By Chineze Ogugua

FIFA referees committee chairman, Pierluigi Collina has announced that assistant referees have been instructed to keep their flag down for tight offside calls at the World Cup. This is to enable VAR to make the correct decisions.


Speaking at a World Cup referees media briefing on Tuesday, Collina said:

“They were told to keep the flag down when there is a tight offside incident and there could be a very promising attack or a goal-scoring opportunity because if the assistant referee raises the flag then everything is finished.

“If the assistant referee keeps the flag down and the play goes on and maybe a goal comes at the end, there is a chance to review the goal using the technology.”

The VAR, which will be in first use beginning with this World Cup will check decisions on incidents like ‘missed’ attacking offences in the build-up to a goal, penalties awarded and not awarded, including ‘missed’ attacking offences in the build-up to the penalty, amongst others.

According to Collina, the referee can accept the information relayed through his earpiece by the VAR team, an option usually reserved for objective calls of fact, such as if a player is offside while for more subjective decisions such as red cards and penalty-area fouls, he can review the footage on a pitch side television monitor before deciding whether to change his initial call.

All eyes will be on the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia to see the effectiveness of the use of VAR at the tournament.

Read also: VAR Replay To Be Shown On Big Screens At World Cup

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