England v West Germany, World Cup
In the 1966 World Cup final, Geoff Hurst hit what was to be the second of his three goals that inspired England to their one and only World Cup triumph. His shot hit the underside of the bar and after a period of consultation, the referee and his assistant decided it had bounced back down and over the line and thus awarded it despite claims to the contrary from West Germany.
Play carries on after Hurst's effort cannons down off the crossbar, with England players and fans protesting to referee Gottfried Dienst. Eventually, the Swiss official puts his hand to his ear and signals for a VAR monitor check on the side of the pitch. After a substantial break in play, replays show the goal was legitimate and it is awarded to spark wild celebrations at Wembley.
The goal proved to be correctly given, so England's triumph would still stand, eventually winning 4-2 with Hurst eventually grabbing a hat-trick.
The VAR concept is still at the beginning; it is a 10-year project until we are at the stage where people really understand how it works.
Every single referee has said to us ‘for us, it’s great. We don't have to be afraid of killing our careers’.
Many people forget that referees can decide matches with wrong decisions not because they are not good - they are a very high level - but they make mistakes because they are human. They will have someone to fall back on and they love it.
Over the years there have been some high-profile matches around the world where, through no fault of their own, match officials make mistakes. Those mistakes have had an impact on the outcome.
Immediately people can see things on TV, on their phones, and know mistakes have been made. So if you have that power of technology, why not harness it to help what is happening on the pitch?
While VAR will not capture everything, it will help us make more better decisions. But it will not stop the debate over decisions next season.
What decisions can be reviewed by VAR?
All goals will be automatically reviewed before being awarded. The checks will cover everything from a potential offside in the build-up to a possible foul by an attacking player before the goal is eventually given or ruled out.
The referee and the video assistants will review whether a foul has been made inside or outside the box, and whether or not the player fouled was in an offside position at any point or not. Play can often continue for several minutes until a natural break, before the referee decides to address the decision on the advice of their assistants.
All direct red card incidents will be reviewed, and any incidents that have not been picked up by the officials on the pitch will be relayed to the match referee, who will then make a final decision after consultation.
The referee is able to view the video footage at the side of the pitch if in doubt over the identity of the culprit, in order to avoid punishing the wrong player.
How is it reviewed by VAR?
1. Identify possible mistake
After an incident occurs on the pitch, the referee will recommend VAR reviews the decision (or vice versa).
2. Review the play
The video footage will be reviewed back in a studio that has multiple screens and camera angles.
3. Speak to the referee
The assistant will advise the on-field referee on what they see via a headset.
4. Referee makes the final decision
After being given technological assistance, the referee will decide whether to review the video footage on the side of the pitch before making an appropriate decision, unless they trust the opinion of the assistant and make a decision straight away.
How do we know when VAR is being used?
Hand to ear
When talking to one of their assistants, the referee can delay a restart in the game by putting a hand over their ear to signal that they are communicating about a decision.
Official review sign
The referee will draw out a large TV sign with their hands to signal that an official VAR review will take place and that play has been stopped to review a decision, either with the monitor, or just to change a decision based on the information passed back to them.
It has been announced that ahead of the introduction to the Premier League, it will be clearly displayed on big screens in the stadium that a decision review is ongoing or has already happened. If the technology offers definitive proof of a decision - such as offside - replays will be shown in an attempt to make it a better experience for fans inside the ground.