1. A chip in the ball to help the VAR
A first. For the first time in World Cup history, FIFA will use semi-automatic offside technology. With a sensor in the ball and special cameras in the stadiums that determine very accurately where the players are, according to FIFA, it can be determined exactly whether or not there is an offside. The technology has been extensively tested at previous, smaller tournaments, with the conclusion that it is a huge tool for the ref and the VAR.
It works like this: the system signals to the video ref if a player in an offside position receives the ball. Before the VAR informs the referee on the field, he or she checks whether it is correct on the basis of the images and data. That only takes a few seconds, according to FIFA. The offside moment is then shown on the large screens in the stadium via three-dimensional images.
2. Mbappé can no longer score like in the Nations League final
Do you remember Kylian Mbappé’s goal in the Nations League final against Spain? He then scored from offside, but that was canceled offside as Spanish defender Eric Garcia touched the ball in an attempt to clear the ball. That rule has now been specified: the offside will only be canceled if a defender deliberately touches the ball. But what is conscious? According to FIFA if there is “control”. An attempt at interception or an unfortunate deviation is therefore not sufficient, but it remains a matter of interpretation.
3. Common thread: players must be “protected”.
Pierluigi Collina, FIFA’s refereeing boss, couldn’t stress it enough: “The players must be protected.” He also made this clear during an explanation to the various participants. Errors that endanger physical integrity will in any case be punished with a red card, as is also the case in the Belgian league. “Here are the best players in the world,” said Collina. “It would be a shame to see someone drop out because of an opponent’s foul.”
4. Extra time gets longer
It often happens that players waste so much time that there is hardly any effective playing time left. Collina wants to limit that this World Cup. He has given the order to give extra time if the game has been stopped too often. Normally, extra time rarely exceeds five minutes, but now it could easily move towards ten minutes if necessary.
5. Female refs also present
It was already known, but FIFA was happy to emphasize it again: six women are part of the refereeing team. There are three main referees and three assistants. The most famous is the French ref Stéphanie Frappart. “But we didn’t select them because they’re women,” Collina said. “There are no quotas. The ladies are there because they have the right qualities.”