UEFA starts VAR at Champions League knock out stage
Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be used from the last 16 of this season’s Champions League, UEFA has confirmed.European football’s governing body had already committed to using VAR in its competitions from 2019-20 onwards.
But last month, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli revealed there was scope to bring it in earlier.
This move was confirmed at the Nations League Finals draw in Dublin yesterday, with all forthcoming knockout matches in UEFA’s flagship club competition to benefit from VAR.
Alongside the Champions League rollout, VAR will also be used in this season’s Europa League final “but not, it seems, in the knockout rounds as well as the Nations League Finals 2019 and next year’s European Under-21 Championship.
“We are ready to use VAR earlier than initially planned and we are convinced that it will be beneficial for our competitions as it will provide valuable help to match officials and will allow to reduce incorrect decisions,” Ceferin said.
Meanwhile, reigning European champions Portugal were drawn against Switzerland in the Nations League semi-finals, while England go up against Netherlands.
Fernando Santos will be hoping to guide his team to a second successive European trophy in June, with Portugal hosting the final rounds of UEFA’s inaugural competition.
Portugal have avoided the highest-ranked side in the final four, with England set to go up against Ronaldo Koeman’s resurgent Oranje in a potentially gripping contest.Gareth Southgate’s men clinched a spot in the Finals thanks to a 2-1 win over World Cup finalists Croatia, building on their own positive showing in Russia this year.