Infantino defends use of video replays at Club World Cup


FIFA President Gianni Infantino has defended the use of the video assistant referee system at the ongoing Club World Cup in Japan after the technology sparked controversy on both instances it was used.

Midfielder Luka Modric and manager Zinedine Zidane were critical of the new video technology after Real Madrid’s win over Club America on Thursday and Infantino emphasised that the technology was still at the testing stage.

“We are making the mistakes to take the right decisions,” Infantino was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency.

“Mr. Modric will certainly be very happy if next time, thanks to the video assistant referee, he wins a match even if it takes a few seconds to find out whether the match should have been won or not.

“Even if we take 30 seconds, one minute — it should be less, and we will obviously work on it — but (we should) help the referee take the right decisions which can decide the most important competition in the world, the World Cup.”

The video assistant referees, introduced to eradicate human error in the sport, was used to award a penalty for the first time as Japanese team Kashima Antlers beat Colombia’s Atletico Nacional in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

Infantino made it clear that under no circumstances will the flow of the game be compromised in favour of video replays.

“We don’t want the flow of the game to be interrupted. This is one of the biggest assets of our sport, the flow of the game,” he said.

“Of course we continue, of course we continue with the tests and I sincerely hope they continue to be as positive as they are.

“In the next World Cup, I hope that the results of the video referring tests will have been so positive that we will not only test it but in fact implement it.”

Despite recent objection from the European clubs, Infantino was still in favour of expanding the World Cup.

“I would like to just underline that even a 48-team format does not require more matches per team… It does not require more days,” the 46-year-old Swiss added.

“The only difference is that eight or 16 — depending on whether it’s a 40 or 48-team format — countries will participate in the biggest event of the world, which is the FIFA World Cup.

“So there is no downside at all, only upsides.”