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30th Jun 2018

VAR system has been changed after criticism during World Cup, Collina confirms

Pierluigi Collina admitted the system had been '"fine-tuned" after early criticism

Simon Lloyd

Like it or loathe it, VAR has undeniably been a success during this World Cup

As revealed by Pierluigi Collina on Friday, 99.3% of the incidents reviewed by VAR during the tournament have resulted in the correct decision. Impressive stuff.

Collina, the head of Fifa’s refereeing committee, also revealed that alterations had been made to the system throughout the tournament after early criticism about unpunished off-the-ball shirt-pulling.

Harry Kane appeared to be a victim of this on at least two occasions during England’s opener with Tunisia in Volgograd last week, as was Aleksandar Mitrovic in Serbia’s costly group defeat to Switzerland.

Collina confirmed the use of VAR had been “fine-tuned” as a result, the Italian indicating that officials running the system had been told to play closer to such incidents.

“You might have appreciated there were some incidents that suddenly disappeared,” Collina explained.

“It’s impossible to be right from the start. We intervened and fine-tuned.”

Since the tournament began, referees have called 95% of incidents correctly without the use of VAR. When called upon, it has helped improve that success rate by more than four percent.

“We have always said that VAR doesn’t mean perfection – there could still be the wrong interpretation or a mistake – but I think you would agree that 99.3% is very close to perfection,” added Collina.

VAR’s use in Russia has also had an impact on how the last-16 stage shapes up. Although the incidents influenced by it didn’t change which teams qualified for the knockout stages, they did have an impact on who topped Groups B, C and F… not that Sweden are complaining.