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VAR may debut at Champions League’s knockout rounds, Ceferin declares

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PHOTO: Mladen ANTONOV / AFP

• Says FFP rules require review
Video Assistant Referees (VAR) could be used during the knockout round of this season’s Champions League, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli have hinted.

European football’s governing body has already announced plans to use VAR in the 2019-20 season and is in the closing stages of conducting tests with the technology.

VAR was rolled out in LaLiga this term, following its implementation at the 2018 World Cup.

Serie A, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1, the A-League and MLS also use video assistants and the Premier League will bring it in alongside its Goal Decision System next season.

Speaking at a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday, Ceferin and Agnelli suggested UEFA could jump ahead of its initial proposal, stating that VAR would be in use “at the latest next season”.

“We have started to do all the preparation. [UEFA referees chief] Roberto Rosetti and his team are very good. There are important points of view – the referees and all the technical aspects,” Ceferin said.

“I expect the report in a week or so and then we will see when we can implement it. At the latest next season.”

Agnelli, who is also the chairman of Serie A champions Juventus, added: “At the latest next season also means there is space for earlier implementation.

“We are delighted as clubs with that and we thank UEFA for the work they have been putting together.”

Meanwhile, Ceferin has admitted “weak” aspects of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules require review to prevent loopholes from being exploited.

Calls for action to be taken against Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have made been in the wake of allegations from Der Spiegel and Mediapart that the clubs circumvented FFP spending stipulations.

Premier League champions City declined to comment on the reporting – purportedly informed by documents obtained from whistleblowers Football Leaks – adding only that “the attempt to damage the club’s reputation is organised and clear”.

PSG maintained that they have “always acted in absolute compliance with the laws and regulations issued by sports institutions”.

Ceferin stopped short of commenting on the heavyweights in question but conceded moves must be made to address FFP vulnerabilities.

“I don’t want to speak about Man City or PSG but for any club the rules have to be strong and clear,” Ceferin told BBC Sport.

“We will act by the book, by the regulations.

“We know that we have to modernise. We know we have to check the rules and regulations all the time. We know that the situation in the football market is changing all the time.

“So that’s also part of our thinking for the future – do we have to do something about the regulations to be more robust? Yes.”

LaLiga president Javier Tebas has encouraged UEFA to impose Champions League bans on City and PSG as a means of sending a message.

Ceferin confirmed all possible deterrents had been discussed, adding: “It’s the start of the debate. It’s a bit premature to speak about it but we acknowledge the rules might be weak in certain points.

“Also laws in certain countries are changing all the time [and] adapting to modern times.”


In this article:
Andrea AgnelliVAR
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