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Russia’s governing football body hopes to usher in VAR system by next round

According to the senior football official, the system was not rolled out by the first round due to failure to reach an agreement

MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. Innovative VAR (Video Assistance Referee) system may be put into operation at the Russian Premier League (RPL) championship starting with the second round of this season’s tournament, Alexander Dyukov, the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), said on Tuesday.

"The RFU was in charge of the VAR system operation during the Russia Cup and the playoff matches for the premier league and it was a success," Dyukov commented following his meeting with Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov.

"We had too many participants, who failed to agree with each other on the process [to put VAR into operation], and this is why we failed to meet the deadline earlier set by the league," Dyukov pointed out. "However, we hope that starting with the second round of the championship we will begin officially operating the VAR system," the RFU chief added.

The first-round match of the Russian Premier League’s 2019/2020 season kicked off on July 12 with a home match between Arsenal Tula FC and Dynamo Moscow FC (1-1).

"I believe that all of the required agreements will be approved and signed this week and today we plan to send an application to the UEFA [the Union of European Football Associations] requesting official employment of the VAR system in an on-line mode during one of the upcoming matches," Dyukov added.

In March 2016, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which oversees changes to the laws of the game, approved a two-year testing period for the VAR system, which had already been in place at football championships in Italy, Germany and Spain.

The VAR system was also tested at Russian stadiums during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The system allows a referee to ask his assistants to instantly review a controversial incident during a football match.

Alexei Sorokin, the head of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Russia 2020 and a member of the FIFA Council, announced in February that the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) was firm on its path to widely implement the use of innovative VAR system, including in Russia.