FIFA has formally approved the use of video referee at this year’s World Cup in Russia.

This was agreed in Colombia on Friday by FIFA’s ruling council, chaired by President Gianni Infantino.

“We need to live with the times.

“We are going to have our first World Cup with VAR. It has been approved and we are extremely happy with that decision.

“It’s an essential, important and historic decision, based on the meeting of IFAB two weeks back. It’s a decision based on trials, carried out in over a thousand matches that provided us with guarantees and facts that VAR helps referees,” Infantino said at the meeting.

Referees can call on VAR to review and overturn “clear and obvious errors” plus “serious missed incidents” involving goals, penalty awards, red cards, and mistaken identity.

“We have been working at this for two years with a group of referees and experts,” Infantino added.

“We have looked at the technology to be ready for the World Cup.”

Infantino said no one on the FIFA Council was against the decision, and added: “We didn’t take it lightly. We studied it thoroughly for two years.

“I was sceptical at the beginning but without trying things you can’t know what they are worth. That’s why we carried out trials in those 1,000 matches. There are facts: referees make one important mistake one in every three, with VAR it is every 19. These are facts and figures.

“The success rate of referees today without VAR is 93 percent, which is already excellent. With VAR they reach 99 percent. We need to leave one percent, we cannot provide 100.”

Infantino added that time-wastage had been discussed “passionately” but concluded: “It’s not possible that in 2018 everyone in their living room knows a few seconds after the play whether a referee has made a mistake and the referee doesn’t.”

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