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MLS to implement VAR beginning August 5th

It has been known that MLS would incorporate Video Assistant Referee technology after the All-Star Game, but that introduction now has an official start date.

The league announced on Thursday that it would begin incorporating Video Review procedures league-wide beginning on August 5th, including every MLS regular season and postseason game. The release confirms what we’ve known for some time, that a fifth Video Assistant Referee would be added to each match’s officiating crew, to help correct clear and obvious errors or missed incidents.

The new technology will cover four specific game-changing situations. Goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards, and cases of mistaken identity will be taken into consideration. Events such as yellow card fouls or judgement calls such as which team has possession after a ball is played out of bounds remain at the referee’s sole discretion.

The league has been testing video technology for nearly three years, along with the Professional Referees Organization, and has been educating officials via camps and offline testing. The VAR technology was used in several MLS preseason matches before being switched back to offline testing for the first half of the season.

While the technology won’t eliminate all questionable calls, it should go a long way towards alleviating the most egregious errors.


  1. i’m pretty pumped about this. soccer is such a low-scoring game. as we all know, just one wrong call can literally decide the match. i think this is an idea whose time has come.

  2. Complain all you want but the VAR helped to get the fouls correct in the Confederations Cup. It may delay a bit but it’s worth getting it correct.
    Sorry. Even being a soccer purist, this is what is best for the game.
    Going forward, players will not do the sort of things that they have been getting away with for all these years. They will think twice about making certain fouls or retaliate against another player.
    Remember when they changed the rule to protect the star players in the 1990’s? Ask Messi, Ronaldo or Aguaro if they have benefited from that rule. Van Basten and Matadonna would have loved to been protected back in the day.
    Just a thought. Could be wrong.
    Go FIRE!!!

    • The game’s flow is more important to me than the result. VAR is going to become the story of practically every single game. On top of that the rules of VAR are rather, and necessarily (to protect the referee’s authority), convoluted. In the Confed Cup, on French tv at least, we weren’t getting any information about the call during review. It was very opaque and the broadcasters were even getting frustrated. Difficult to resolve this issue. I understand that replay is inevitable in sport, and that people like me are dying off (I’m 36 but my soul is at about 72 years). But sorry, I’m afraid I’m going to miss the old soccer, broken ankles and all.

  3. After watching the confed cup I am not sold on this thing.

    For one thing, making a borderline decision will sometimes take much longer than advertised. It does change the flow of the game a bit, makes it disjointed. saw that in Russia this summer.

    But I think it will only ever be controversial in big big matches, when the whole world is watching and made to wait up to several minutes for a call., sometimes with no idea why play was stopped.

    And then the decision may be factually correct, but for me that is not the point. They will have slowed down the video to a fraction of the speed it happened at. And we will all be convinced that the slow-motion replay is how it really happened. But just imagine, slowing down in hi-def the action inside the box during a corner kick.. how many “fouls” ?! It’s like mining for all the ingredients in the sauce, instead of just enjoying the sauce. Soccer should remain somewhat fictional.


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