Gold Cup - closeup shot - trophy

Concacaf are making tweaks to the 2019 Gold Cup, but VAR isn’t one of them.

Manolo Zubiria, Concacaf’s Chief of Football, recently told that Concacaf has eliminated the previous rule that allows teams to make up to six roster changes after the group stage and has brought back extra time in all knockout stage games. Previously any game, outside of the final, that was level after regulation went straight to penalty kicks.

As for VAR, Zubria said the confederation is committed to Video Review, but not before more of its officials can be properly trained.

"We are committed to bringing VAR into Concacaf. We know there’s obviously a lot to be done because VAR is not just the technology aspect, there’s a lot of the human aspect as well that goes into the training, the simulators. That’s where we’re committed to starting," Zubiria said. “Already we have a set of referees that’s familiar with it. At the World Cup, they’ve been exposed to VAR, they were actually VAR assistants at the World Cup in Russia, but we need to grow that pool of referees that then we can put in our major competitions to officiate using the technology. The technology is probably the easiest part. It’s more how to use that technology to make sure the right decisions are made.”

Concacaf will also use the International Football Association Board’s updated rules, which include a new interpretation of handball and requires substitutes to leave the field of play at the nearest point off the touch line or goal line. 

Zubiria said Concacaf wanted to more closely align the Gold Cup with other major global tournaments, like the UEFA European Championship and Copa America.

"We don’t want to be experimental. We definitely want to follow the lead of what governing bodies want to do," he said. "We’re obviously open and are trying these new rules for the last two years. The fourth substitution in extra time, we’ve been trying that for the last few years and it’s worked really well. We tried the fact that you can show a yellow card or even a red card to any of the coaches and officials on the bench. We’ve been very, very in line with FIFA’s refereeing department, with IFAB and we’ve been trying to be a resource for them to try things on the field, but we don’t want to explore and get into a path where we’re trying different things other than what the world of football is doing across the confederation.”