Video assistant referees to be introduced in Bundesliga next season
The Bundesliga is set to introduce video assistant referees (VAR) from next season onwards after being successfully tested during the first half of the current campaign.
The introduction of VAR was confirmed during a news conference on Monday held by both the German Football League (DFL) and the German Football Association (DFB), who are jointly promoting the project.
VAR will only be used for clear matters and in four separate situations, the DFL said on its official website -- for irregularities in the case of a goal decision, penalty box situations regarding penalty calls, red card offences unnoticed by the referee, and in cases of mistaken identity over a yellow or red card.
All other decisions in a match will remain unaffected to avoid changes to the character of the game, while the referee will have the final call and review the situation on a monitor at the sidelines to make his own judgement.
"Only clear wrong calls can be part of the video evidence," Hellmut Krug, a former FIFA referee and project head VAR, told the news conference, adding that debates will remain part of the game.
DFB vice president Ronny Zimmermann, responsible for referees and match officials, said that during the first 16 matchdays of the 2016-2017 season referees made 44 wrong calls, "of which 33 could have been reviewed from the outside because of the determined criteria."
Tests will continue until the beginning of the new season and "all 23 current top-flight referees have now participated at least twice on Bundesliga matchdays at the Cologne Broadcasting Centre 'training camp' setup as a live pilot," the DFL said.
Some of the planned tests involve junior teams from Bundesliga clubs "where the video assistant will be connected with the match referee," which has not been the case so far. A trial will also take place at each of the 18 Bundesliga stadiums before the start of the 2017-2018 season.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.