By Brian Homewood
MONACO (Reuters) – UEFA plans to use video assistant referees (VARs) in the Champions League from next season but is unlikely to introduce the technology this term, even in the final, its president Aleksander Ceferin said on Friday.
European soccer’s governing body has so far resisted implementation of the VAR system, which allows key incidents to be reviewed with the use of video replays and was used at the World Cup in Russia this year.
Ceferin said the intention was that VAR would be brought in for the UEFA Super Cup and the final qualifying round of next season’s Champions League, even though the Slovenian said that there had been some unclear situations at the World Cup.
“The plan for now is to use it from next season… with the first match of next season which is the Super Cup,” he told reporters, referring to the annual season-opener between the previous season’s Champions League and Europa League winners.
It would then be used in all group stage and knockout stage matches, Ceferin said, adding that he was still not fully convinced by the system.
“VAR is not completely clear for now… but we also know there is no way back any more,” he said. “For me, there were some unclear situations at the World Cup where VAR worked quite well.
“It is much more problematic than it looks. We really have a huge territory. The plan is to do it for next season but let’s see what happens. I don’t want to predict anything 100 percent.”
On this season’s final, he said: “I’m not ruling it out but for now, it doesn’t look like it will happen.”
He also pointed out that UEFA could not simply adapt the system themselves, without first consulting the sport’s law-making body IFAB.
Ceferin added that UEFA had “expected” Cristiano Ronaldo to turn up for the previous night’s Player of the Season award ceremony in Monaco.
The Portuguese finished second behind Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric in the poll and was not present.
“It’s hard to say,” he said. “We expected him to come and then, I think a few hours before, we got confirmation he was not coming. The rest was a question for Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Ceferin said UEFA did not tell players the results beforehand and added: “You guys know (how) this information leaks.
“For me, it’s important to know one thing: 55 journalists from 55 countries voted and all the coaches of teams in the Champions League and Europa League group stages voted.”
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by John O’Brien)