New York: The organising committee of Fifa has announced it would recommend the use of video assistant referee (VAR) technology at the Women’s World Cup this summer, bringing refereeing advances introduced at the men’s World Cup in Russia last year to football’s most important women’s championship. The decision, which is expected to be approved by the governing Fifa Council when it meets later this month in Miami, is a victory for women’s players, coaches and fans who have highlighted gender equality issues in the international game.

The technology allows the on-field referee to consult with a colleague viewing video replays to help confirm, or overturn, close calls. Fifa had repeatedly declined to confirm whether VAR would be used at the World Cup in France, turning the issue into another flashpoint — alongside artificial turf fields and unequal compensation and bonuses — in the broader gender equity debate in soccer.

On the VAR point, at least, the debate seems finally to be settled.

Gianni Infantino, the president of Fifa, said last weekend that he supported the use of the technology at the women’s event in June, stating that it was proving effective at discouraging the type of diving and playacting that often plague major tournaments.

— New York Times News Service