FIFA has revealed that video assistant referees at the World Cup 2018 are made to wear a full football kit – despite doing their jobs while sitting in a studio away from the stadium – apparently to control stress levels.
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The officials will be located in a control room in Moscow throughout the duration of the tournament, overseeing various screens, should they be called upon to assess a particular incident to aid the head referee.
Pierluigi Collina, the head of FIFA’s referee’s committee (whose iconic bald head featured on the cover of the greatest football game of all-time, Pro Evolution Soccer 3), explained that the decision was made quite literally to take the heat off of the under-pressure officials.
“The video match officials will be in front of the television sweating with the stress, it’s not possible to go there like a clerk with shirt, tie and jacket,” he said. “They are doing something stressful and that’s why we want them wearing the dress code.”
For the first time at a World Cup, VAR will be implemented in every game, meaning that the main referee will have somewhere to turn with contentious decisions. Fans in the stadium will be kept abreast of what’s going on via replays and messages on big screens.
In theory, this will prevent errors like Frank Lampard’s heartbreaking disallowed goal against Germany in 2006.