VAR to punish off-the-ball incidents at World Cup

New regulations enable officials to act on any missed incidents – even if play has restarted

Match referee Deniz Aytekin consults the VAR system before awarding Italy a penalty during the international friendly match at Wembley Stadium in March. Photograph: PA

Players at this summer's World Cup finals could be given red cards for off-the-ball incidents spotted by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), football's rule-making body the International Football Association Board (Ifab) has confirmed.

The controversial VAR system will be used for the first time at a World Cup in Russia, with Fifa having selected 13 dedicated officials for the tournament last month.

In addition to existing powers, new regulations which come into force on June 1st will enable them to alert the referee to any incidents that have been missed – even if play has restarted. That means an offender can subsequently be sent off at any time during the match.

Ifab's technical director, David Elleray, told the Times: "If there is something away from the action that has been missed and it later comes to the attention of the VAR or the assistant VAR, then they can inform the referee and he can send the player off, even if it is later in the match. We do not anticipate this happening very often … this would only be for serious red-card offences."


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