VAR in 2018 World Cup on FIFA Council agenda
Kolkata: The fifth FIFA council meeting, to be held in the city on Friday, could give a clearer picture on the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology in next year's World Cup in Russia and ratify Pakistan's suspension.
The 37-member council, headed by the world governing body's president Gianni Infantino, will convene at a plush hotel of the eastern metropolis a day ahead of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup final between England and Spain at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here.
An "Update on VAR implementation" is one of the 15 points listed on the agenda of the high-profile meeting, which the country will be hosting for the first time, like the U-17 World Cup.
Infantino, on his second visit to India since taking over the reins from Sepp Blatter, is a staunch supporter of the VAR and wants to have the technology at next summer's World Cup. Recently, in the wake of Panama's 2-1 win over Costa Rica in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, Infantino again raised his voice in support of implementing VAR.
The Panamanians helped eliminate the United States from a place in Russia next summer after being awarded a goal despite the ball appearing to not cross the goal line in the 53rd minute. The result, coupled with the US's 1-2 loss to Trinidad and Tobago, meant Panama qualified ahead of the Americans, who thus missed out on a World Cup appearance for the first time since 1986.
"When you play a World Cup qualification game and that game is decided by a major error of interpretation by the referee, which can happen because they're human beings like everyone else, then it is time to rectify things," Infantino had said.
Among the other topics on the agenda, an update on the bidding process to select the host(s) of the 2026 FIFA World Cup is also there.
Following the approval of the bidding requirements by the FIFA Council on May 9, the FIFA Congress agreed, with 93 percent of the valid votes, on a three-month period -- until August 11, 2017 -- for member associations from CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and the OFC to express their interest in hosting the tournament.
The decision on whether to select any of the bidders as the host(s) of the World Cup will be taken by the 68th FIFA Congress, slated to convene in Moscow on June 13 next year, on the eve of the opening match of the FIFA World Cup.
The prize money for Russia 2018 is also expected to be decided in the meeting.
The suspension of Pakistan Football Federation will also be ratified among the other five ratifications listed under "Bureau of the Council" section.
The FIFA had suspended the PFF in accordance with the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council dated October 10 on account of undue third-party interference.
The Bureau took this decision as the PFF offices and its accounts remain in control of a court-appointed administrator, which constitutes a violation of the PFF obligations to manage its affairs independently and without influence from any third parties in accordance with the