Two German referees received a huge honour today as FIFA officials Bastian Dankert and Felix Zwayer were selected as video assistant referees at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They will join referee Dr. Felix Brych and his assistants Mark Borsch and Stefan Lupp at the tournament.
“We are incredibly proud to also be attending,” said Bastian Dankert following his nomination, which was announced after the recent preparation course in Coverciano near Florence. A total of 13 video assistants have been chosen for the World Cup, with Germany providing two representatives.
All of the World Cup referees, as well as the potential video assistants, have already worked together during courses in Doha and Dubai during recent months in order to prepare for the use of VAR at the tournament. A total of five weeks of joint training have been completed.
“We generally had practice sessions out on the pitch in the mornings, where fouls on the edge of the box, handballs and off-the-ball fouls were simulated,” explained Dankert. The referees worked out on the pitch, with the video assistants watching on monitors. Then in afternoons, there was further training in the video centre, where the referees were put to the test using real-life match situations. “There’s no doubt that we were able to benefit from our Bundesliga experience,” noted Dankert.
Much like with the video centre in Cologne on Bundesliga matchdays, the video assistants will all work from a studio in Moscow and will have radio contact with the referees in the stadiums.
For each game, the video assistant in Moscow will also have another referee and another assistant helping out, with the latter focused specifically on offside calls. The trio will be further assisted by a so-called ‘Support’, an official who watches the game on TV and can also intervene where necessary.
“We’re very optimistic that this system will work well at the World Cup,” said the two German video assistants, although they hope that they will have as little to do as possible. “After all, the best referees in the world are at the tournament, so we hope that none of our colleagues make any glaring errors.”###more###