Video assistant referee set for Champions League this season

Heather Diaz
December 3, 2018

UEFA has announced details of a new European club competition to be launched in 2021.

Without VAR this season in the Champions League group stage, Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off for Juventus after a disputed red card and Manchester City's Raheem Sterling won a penalty after tripping on the turf.

UEFA originally opted against using VAR this season despite it being used by most major European leagues and Federation Internationale de Football Association at the World Cup in Russia, but hinted earlier this month it could be introduced ahead of schedule.

The seventh-placed teams in Europe's top four leagues will qualify for the new competition, and they will be joined by a host of clubs from smaller associations. The plans were approved by the UEFA executive committee on Sunday, three years after the initial discussions were first revealed by The Associated Press.

UEFA is guaranteeing that at least 34 of its 55 countries - up from 26 - will be represented in the group stage of its competitions as the result of the introduction of UEL2. This competition was borne out of ongoing dialogue with clubs through the European Club Association.

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"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 us to reduce incorrect decisions", said Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin.

That means teams from leagues below that level - which at the moment would include Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, excluding their champions - would go straight into "UEL2" qualifying rounds.

"The UEFA Executive Committee has decided today in Dublin to use Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in the UEFA Champions League as from the Round of 16 in February 2019".

One English team will enter the play-offs of the new tournament, while Scottish sides may miss out on Europa League places in a reshuffle.

"The UEFA Executive Committee today met in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, and chose to use Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in the UEFA Champions League as from the Round of 16 in February 2019 following successful technological testing and the training of referees over the last few months".

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