Does Concacaf use VAR in its competitions?
Yes, VAR is used in several Concacaf competitions.
In 2021, Concacaf introduced VAR into its competitions for the first time. It was successfully implemented in the Concacaf Nations League Finals, the Concacaf Gold Cup and the latter stages of the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
What is Concacaf’s VAR plan for 2022?
Concacaf recently announced that VAR will be used in several of its competitions in 2022, including:
- January and March Concacaf Qualifiers for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
- Concacaf Women’s U20 Championship
- Concacaf Men’s U20 Championship
- Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League
- Concacaf Women’s Championship
Why did Concacaf decide to introduce VAR for the January and March Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022, having not used it in the previous match rounds?
World Cup Qualifiers in the Concacaf region are FIFA matches. A key FIFA requirement to determine whether VAR could be used is for the technology to be available, in certified stadiums, in all of the participating federations.
In this competition, five of the eight competing federations could not meet this requirement for the previous match rounds. Concacaf has worked to support all five of those federations to ensure the relevant technology is in place and that their venues have been certified. Understandably, the public health situation slowed things down and created additional challenges with this process.
With each participating team having six matches remaining and all eight Federations now having VAR-certified venues, it felt correct to add this important technology to these crucial matches.
How will Concacaf referees be implementing VAR on the field?
Concacaf referees will follow the FIFA and IFAB regulations which dictate that VAR can only be used in four situations:
- Goal/no goal
- Penalty/no penalty
- Direct red card (not second yellow card/caution)
- Mistaken identity (when the referee cautions or sends off the wrong player of the offending team)
In general, VAR is in place for “clear and obvious errors” and the objective is to have minimum interference and maximum benefit.
For subjective decisions in which VAR intervenes, the Concacaf refereeing department has encouraged VARs to refer incidents to the on-field referee so that he or she makes the final decision.
What about VAR use for marginal offside calls?
Offside is offside, whether it is a close call or an obvious one. And each incident is different and needs to be considered on its merits by the referees at the time. However, Concacaf’s general guidance during training with VARs and AVARs has been to focus on seeking to correct errors, rather than overturning extremely marginal subjective decisions.
If there is doubt about a clear error, VARs have been encouraged to ask the on-field referee to review the incident on the monitor and make the final decision.
Will VAR decisions be available on giant screens for fans in stadiums?
This depends on the venue, and the arrangements made by the respective federations who organize and manage their own venues for these matches.
Concacaf has provided all federations with the relevant graphics and language so that they can communicate VAR decisions to fans in-stadium should they choose to do so.