In a new challenge system tested in soccer, managers may now wave their finger in the air to start a video review of a referee’s call. Sports like cricket and tennis already have this feature.

Now FIFA has implemented a new challenge mechanism for trials. Football Video Support, also known as FVS, is a less complex substitute for the VAR. The results from its testing in young football thus far are encouraging.

At this week’s FIFA Congress in Bangkok, Pierluigi Collina—the head of referees for FIFA—said as much while praising the system. “The outcome was very, very positive”, Collina said.

“Our aim is to continue to trial this new system, namely in our youth competitions. We hope to be able to give all of you who have indicated an interest in the possibility to implement this system in your competitions.”

What is Football Video Support (FVS)?

Each manager gets to question two referee calls every game; if they win, they get to retain the call for the next time. Goals, penalties, red cards, and incidents of mistaken identification are all scenarios that call for its use.

The challenge begins with the coach spinning their finger and passing a card to the fourth official.

They then explain to the referee what they would want reviewed on the pitch-side monitor. Players have the opportunity to suggest a review, but ultimately, it is up to the coach to make the call.

Earlier this week, during the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup, the first trial happened. ESPN reports that there are currently no plans to use it in the Premier League or any other top-tier leagues.

The original intention of FVS was to help events that couldn’t afford to deploy VAR at the outset.

But what happens when managers, players, and fans all lose reviews? What happens if a team manipulates the system in any way, such as to waste time strategically? These are important questions to ponder.

For the time being, FIFA are content to retain its testing inside their youth events. Therefore, trials will not be expanded to other leagues or competitions.

The reasons Wolves propose scrapping VAR
The reasons Wolves propose scrapping VAR

The reasons Wolves propose scrapping VAR

What will happen to VAR?

Premier League teams will vote next month on whether to eliminate VAR, and news of the FVS system comes less than a week after that. Wolverhampton Wanderers having set this maneuver in motion.

In preparation for the Premier League meeting in Harrogate on June 6, Wolves officially presented a proposal that would initiate a vote. “The price we are paying for a small increase in accuracy is at odds with the spirit of our game”, they said.

According to the club, video assistant referee was used “in good faith”. However, it has had “numerous unintended negative consequences that are damaging the relationship between fans and football.”

Since its introduction in 2019, VAR has been involved in many contentious events. That’s despite its intended purpose of assisting on-field officials with crucial match judgments. There were worries about VAR, and the Premier League admitted as much.

In any case, they’re on board with the system and will keep collaborating with the referees’ organization, PGMOL, to refine it. For a rule change to be approved, 14 out of 20 clubs must give their votes in favor.

The 2024-25 Premier League season will see the introduction of semi-automated offside technology, as previous votes by clubs have indicated.

Photo credit: IMAGO / PA Images