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Concacaf W Championship: VAR explained

USWNT defender Kelley O’Hara shows the bruising she received from a foul by Roselord Borgella of Haiti. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

The USWNT’s Concacaf opener Monday provided a look into the federation’s introduction of VAR and how it’s going to change the game moving forward.

Back in January, Concacaf announced that it would be introducing video assistant referee technology (VAR) for the remainder of World Cup qualifying and throughout 2022. The Concacaf Women’s U20 Championships, which took place in February, featured VAR, as did men’s World Cup qualifiers in January and March.

In order to utilize VAR in competition, the venue must have capability for the technology, which made it difficult for Concacaf to utilize the technology. Only recently has VAR began to be available in certified federation stadiums.

As of January, all eight federations that host competitions had VAR-certified venues – including Mexico, the host of the Concacaf W Championship – which made it possible for the technology to be implemented.

Two officials — a VAR and an assistant VAR — oversee the use of VAR technology for each match during the Concacaf W Championship.

Under VAR rules, the following situations can be reviewed by referees:

  • Goal/no goal
  • Penalty/no penalty
  • Direct red card (second yellow card/caution cannot be reviewed)
  • Mistaken identity (if/when the referee cautions or sends off the wrong player)

The USWNT got an up close and personal look at VAR on Monday, as three different situations on the field required the technology. The first VAR decision in Concacaf Women’s World Cup qualifying history came as the referees opted to overturn a red card assessed to Roselord Borgella.

VAR was consulted again to confirm a no-call after Mallory Pugh was taken down inside the box, as Pugh was offside at the time. VAR came into play a final time when Rapinoe was ruled to be offside ahead of a would-be Margaret Purce goal.

A number of other governing bodies have implemented VAR, including UEFA, CONMEBOL and CAF.