A separate VAR room in Oslo, in which more than 50 judges were involved and tens of millions in costs. We know this so far about video judging in the Elite Series.
There is some technical equipment to be delivered and some infrastructure to be built. But it looks positive, and everything is ready so that we are ready when the season starts next year.
This is said Nils Fisketjon, Director of Competition Department at the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF).
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The Video Assistant Referee, or VAR, will be introduced in the Elite Series from 2023. There are currently some details remaining, but that’s what VG knows so far about the video that will be introduced next season.
VAR room in Oslo
– We are with a central solution. A center is now being built in Oslo. The referees will be seated there, with a direct line to the field, continues Fisketjønn.
Thus, a VAR room will be built for use during next year’s Elite League matches. It will be built on Holbergs Square in Oslo.
– It’s cost-saving. An alternative solution is a pickup truck moving from one stadium to another. So you avoid moving both technical equipment and staff, the manager explains why they go to a centralized solution.
Today, both the Premier League and the Bundesliga use such a central solution as Fisketjønn speaks.
However, it is not intended to introduce goal-line technology, as many of the major leagues have done. The reason is simple. According to Fisketjønn, target line technology would be redundant with VAR technology.
– It’s a fairly expensive affair. We are talking about tens of millions a year. We’ve checked internationally, and received feedback that such a huge investment in a small league like ours gives about one case per year, given you have VAR. It shows that VAR captures most things.
Coming to Toppserien
For now, VAR is only planned to be introduced in the Elite Series, but it will eventually also be introduced in the Top Series. This was confirmed by Knut Kristvang, VAR project manager in Norway.
The decision to introduce VAR also applies to Toppserien, but no date has been set for when this will start. The ambition is to see if that is possible in the fall of 2023 in the playoffs.
VG previously stated that the annual cost framework for VAR would be between 12 and 18 million NOK. Estimate remains, but there is still some remaining.
Not everything is fully negotiated, such as the price of technical equipment or the size of the referee’s fee, says Fisketjønn.
VG has also been in contact with Terje Hauge, a former Supreme Judge who is now the Chief Justice of the NFF. He talks about about 50 Norwegian judges in full swing in training in the use of video arbitration.
Hauge says the training takes place in three phases. The first stage is a purely theoretical part, and the second is a session in which 150 passages are reviewed and one matched with an argumentative eye.
—We’re halfway there on 150 slopes, and we’ll take the last half when the VAR Room in Oslo is complete this fall, Hauge explains.
The third stage is a purely practical part where the referees go out and practice practically.
– Referees will go out on the field and practice communicating with the VAR room and making decisions. We will practice that during the Norway Cup, among other things, Hauge continues.
This season, there has been a storm around the Norwegian judges following a number of controversial decisions on the domestic series. However, Hauge is clear that VAR technology should be as invisible as possible, and only contribute to the most dangerous situations.
– We focus on optimally judged matches, and VAR is not included. The VAR should not replace the judges. The Chief Justice makes it clear that he should only intervene in black and white situations.
The most attractive judges internationally?
VG reported last week that Norway has not had top international judges since 2017.
Hauge believes that the introduction of VAR will make Norwegian judges more attractive and prepared for larger international assignments.
Just the fact that we have started training on him helps us a lot in terms of the number of matches we get, our referees become more attractive and UEFA can start planning to be our future referees in international football.
– To what extent can these judges use VAR technology?
It is hoped that our referees will obtain a VAR license before 2023, and therefore will play matches with VAR internationally. We’ll likely see this in the fall of 2023.
Today, Espen Eskås, as the only Norwegian judge, is already a VAR-certified judge. The introduction of VAR technology has been the subject of much debate. Kristvang still believes it will enrich Norwegian football, as long as it is presented correctly.
We know that some people criticize the use of VAR, but together we will try to find the best possible model for how it can be used and implemented in Norwegian football.
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