Video referees are expected to be used in Spanish soccer by the 2018-19 season when they are fully approved by FIFA, La Liga president Javier Tebas has said.
Tebas was speaking after Sunday’s 1-1 draw between Barcelona and Real Betis, a game in which champions Barca appeared to have been denied a clear goal.
Video replays showed that after Betis’ Cristiano Piccini diverted Aleix Vidal’s pass towards goal the ball crossed the line by around a metre before defender Aissi Mandi slid in and scrambled the it away.
“The tests are already underway. We have been working on video referees for the last eight months,” Tebas told El Pais.
“We will be testing it from next season in La Liga,” he added.
“If FIFA finally approve it, we will start using it from July 2018.”
Football’s law-making body IFAB approved last March a two-year trial of the video assistant referee (VAR) system with access to replays to help match officials review key decisions.
Unlike other top leagues in Europe, La Liga does not have goal-line technology available because it is considered too expensive to be put in place.
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique believes the officials need assistance.
“The referees need help, whether it’s with cameras or whatever, for decisions that favour us or go against us,” he said. “The technology can help us. I’ve already said that before.”
Not everyone, however, is in favour of the technology.
“I’m against video refereeing because it would break the essence of what soccer is,” Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo told Marca.
“Referees make mistakes and get it right. There are times that those go in favour and others were they go against. I don’t see a problem with this.”