PRO Referees and MLS Looking At Centralizing VAR

Well, not quite.

In a search for consistency and in an effort to streamline the Video Review process and execution, Major League Soccer and PRO Referees are looking into the feasibility of creating a central Video Operations Room (VOR).


(Howard Webb, General Manager of PRO, photo credit: PRO)

Howard Webb, General Manager of PRO referees, met the Montreal media earlier today in a round table format. He gave a twenty minute presentation on different aspects of the PRO organisation and refereeing in MLS in general. As you might suspect, VAR (Video Assistant Referee) or as we should say Video Review was a popular topic of discussion. With the growth of MLS and the rising travel cost, the idea of having a central VOR is being studied by PRO and Major League Soccer.

<> on June 9, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.

( Video Operations Room during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, photo credit: FIFA)

It would facilitate the interactions between the video assistant-referees and their supervisors. It might also create the possibility of a tier-system of decision making process, where the supervisor present could intervene if a situation goes wrong, not unlike the National Hockey League. It would facilitate training, seminars and communications all across the Video Review aspect of PRO and would streamline the rapidity of their post-game referee performance evaluation process.

nhl video room

(Example of a central VOR, NHL Video Room, photo credit: NHL)

Also a benefit of centralizing the VOR is money. The Video Review teams are consisted of three individuals. One VAR and two assistant Video Assistant Referee (AVAR). Imagine the travel and accommodation cost for at least 14 teams of 3 travelling all across North America for 9 months out of the year. We are talking hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in cost to just get your VARs and AVARs to the stadiums. You can add the building costs of all the VOR in the new stadiums also to the equation and quickly, you realize the potential savings a central VOR could bring.

At this time, it is impossible to know where this potential central VOR would be located, but a location in close proximity to the MLS headquarters and the PRO headquarters would be ideal. New York City is a strong candidate for a centralized VOR.

Learn more about PRO Referees here

Listen to the entire Media Round Table with Howard Webb right here

Listen to the daily MLS podcast, Soccer Today! on SPN for more details.

Thank you to the Montreal Impact and PRO Referees for organizing today’s round table.

Photo credit: Major League Soccer and PRO.

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