SYDNEY (AP) — With FIFA expected to make a decision in March on whether Video Assistant Refereeing will be used at next year's World Cup, A-League officials have issued new guidelines in Australia in an effort to reduce the number of interventions and speed up play.
The A-League is the first professional league to trial the system which involves an official in the stands viewing video replays. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said he'd like a similar VAR set-up for the World Cup in Russia.
In Australia, fans and players have criticized the system which has featured long delays and often poor application of the guidelines.
Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque said the VAR toyed with players' emotions.
"Scoring a goal, you can't celebrate properly as fans or players because you've got to wait two or three minutes before it actually gets given ... you want the game to flow and, if a goal is scored, for the emotions to take over," Brosque said. "The less you see the VAR get involved in matches, the better."
Beginning with this weekend's round of matches, which included Thursday's 2-1 win by Perth over Brisbane, an A-League memo issued to clubs says video referees should not "go looking for infringements that are by definition not match-changing."
Video referees were also stripped of the power to suggest changing yellow-card decisions to dismissals where the on-field referee has issued a caution. Off-the-ball incidents will still be looked at.
In tweaking the system, the memo said the changes "are not completely in line with the trial protocol" agreed with FIFA.