Video review for Women's World Cup backed by FIFA panel

Japan's Emi Nakajima, left, and United States' Abby Dahlkemper, right, reach for the ball during the second half of SheBelieves Cup soccer match, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Chester, Pa. The match ended in a 2-2 tie. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

A FIFA panel overseeing Women's World Cup preparations has recommended using video review to help referees

ZURICH — The FIFA panel overseeing Women's World Cup preparations recommended on Monday using video review to help referees, clearing the path for final confirmation next week.

The plan has strong backers in FIFA President Gianni Infantino and UEFA leader Aleksander Ceferin, who chaired Monday's meeting of the organizing committee for world soccer competitions.

At a meeting in Miami next week, FIFA's ruling council is set to ratify video assistants being deployed to help women referees at the June 7-July 7 tournament in France.

The video assistant referees will likely include men helping advise all-female teams of referees and assistants. No domestic women's competition uses VAR.

The Associated Press revealed in February that FIFA was set to use VAR at its women's showpiece after months of uncertainty.

Some men with experience working as VARs at the 2018 World Cup in Russia took part in trials at a boys' youth tournament in Qatar last month with Women's World Cup match officials.

"The tests were quite positive," Infantino said on Saturday. "I would of course wish that we do use VAR at the Women's World Cup."

U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis, who brought up the issue at the men's World Cup last summer in Russia, said Monday evening that the decision was "fantastic." The United States is in Tampa, Florida, for a SheBelieves Cup tournament match against Brazil on Tuesday night.

"It's great news. I think everyone in our sport realized it was such a positive, and to have now the same access to the same technology, I think it's great," Ellis said. "It's going to be an intense World Cup and I think having the benefit of VAR is important."

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