Video Review is almost here.
Major League Soccer announced on Thursday that Video Review will officially be implemented in all league competition beginning with the full slate of MLS Week 22 matches on the weekend of August 5-6. All remaining 2017 MLS regular season matches, the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup will feature Video Review.
A Video Assistant Referee (VAR), the new fifth member of the officiating crew, will be located in a booth at each MLS stadium with access to all available broadcast replays. The VAR will be able to alert the head referee to potential clear and obvious errors or serious missed incidents in four game-changing situations: (1) goals, (2) penalty kicks, (3) straight red cards and (4) cases of mistaken identity. These are the only reviewable plays in a match.
Former World Cup referee Howard Webb, who currently serves as PRO's Manager of VAR Operations, will host a detailed presentation of Video Review for media members on Friday, July 21 at 2 pm ET. A live stream of the seminar will also be available to fans on MLSsoccer.com or via the league’s YouTube channel.
For more than three years, MLS and the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) have been at the forefront of Video Review, working with The International Football Association Board (IFAB) — the world body that oversees the Laws of the Game — in helping to develop the procedures and technology.
In addition to several VAR-specific training camps for referees organized by PRO, MLS has also hosted workshops and conducted numerous live and offline experiments in MLS preseason matches, the Generation adidas Cup for youth academy teams and in reserve team matches in the United Soccer League (USL). The first Video Review test held anywhere in the world during the live competition took place in a USL match at Red Bull Arena on Aug. 12, 2016.
IFAB will be studying the live implementation of Video Review in MLS and other leagues before making a final decision on formally incorporating it into the Laws of the Game. A decision is expected in 2018, or 2019 at the latest.