FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: MLS Communications
Major League Soccer to Implement Video Review League-Wide Beginning on August 5
Video Assistant Referees to be included in all matches through 2017 regular season and postseason
Friday: Howard Webb of PRO to present a Video Review Media Seminar at 2 p.m. ET
NEW YORK (Thursday, July 20, 2017) – Major League Soccer today confirmed that beginning August 5, all MLS games, including the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup, will incorporate Video Review.
In compliance with procedures outlined by The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the universal decision-making body for the Laws of the Game, a fifth member of a game’s officiating crew, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), located in a booth at the stadium, will have access to all available broadcast angles and check all plays for potential clear and obvious errors or serious missed incidents in four game-changing situations -- goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards, and cases of mistaken identity.
The introduction of Video Review into MLS league matches is the culmination of more than three years of extensive research and testing of video review technology by MLS and the Professional Referees Organization (PRO). In addition to Video Assistant Referee-specific camps and education sessions, preparations have included more than 100 matches – both live in-game and offline tests – at stadiums around the country that have provided invaluable training opportunities for VARs and referees.
MLS and PRO are among the pioneers of this initiative worldwide, partnering with the United Soccer Leagues (USL), to facilitate the first test in live competition, on Aug. 12, 2016 at Red Bull Arena. The IFAB will conduct a two-year global study of the implementation of video review in various competitions before making a final decision about the incorporation of the Video Assistant Referee into Laws of the Game. A decision is expected in 2018, or 2019 at the latest.
A Video Review Media Seminar, hosted by world renowned FIFA Referee and current PRO Manager of Video Assistant Referee Operations Howard Webb, will be held live online this Friday, July 21 (2 p.m. ET) to further educate media members about the Video Review protocols and process. The presentation will be streamed live online via the MLS YouTube Channel.
About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer features 22 clubs throughout the United States and Canada. For more information about MLS, visit www.MLSsoccer.com.
About the Professional Referee Organization
The Professional Referee Organization is an independent company responsible for administering professional referee programs in North America. PRO is dedicated to the identification, training, assessment, assignment, and employment of male and female professional soccer officials. Providing services to North American professional soccer leagues, CONCACAF and FIFA competitions, PRO’s mission is to supply World Class Match Officials for all professional soccer in North America with a vision to become the example for World Class soccer officials by 2022.
About The IFAB
The IFAB is an independent organisation comprising the football associations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as FIFA. The IFAB is the only body authorised to decide and approve changes to the Laws of the Game in consultation with the football community.