IT turns out the revolution will be televised after all. One of the most fascinating aspects of the events which will unfold in Russia this month will be how VAR, or video assistant referee technology, affects the global showpiece.

Introducing technological help for our beleaguered referees, of course, is a long overdue development. They were more preoccupied with the introduction of Technicolor back in 1996, but a bit of goalline technology would certainly have helped Russian linesman Tofiq Bahramov out when it came to Geoff Hurst’s shot in the final. And just imagine it had been around when Toni Schumacher re-arranged the teeth of Patrick Battiston without the need of local anaesthetic back in 1982 or when Diego Maradona employed ‘the Hand of God’ to extricate England from Mexico 1986.

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Compared to almost every sport going these days – particularly rugby, cricket, tennis – football has been dragging its heels badly on this issue. The eyes of the world will be on Russia this summer and it just isn’t good enough anymore for the outcome to be determined by a piece of thoroughly avoidable human error. So fair play to Fifa, whose soundings tell them that the accuracy of refereeing decisions can be increased from 93% to 98.8% with video technology.

To this end, the games governing body have appointed 13 match officials to gather in a Moscow hub for each of the tournament’s 64 matches, one VAR and a team of three assistants who will be able to access footage from 33 cameras, eight of which record in slow motion. For the record, this four-strong team of officials will be dressed in their official Fifa kit, not dressed in smoking jackets and cravats.

The procedure is simple enough – according to the precise wording of the rule, they are there to correct “clear and obvious errors” made in any of four “game changing” situations. While it could be argued that even the errant award of a throw-in can change a game - not least by Rangers fans after Joe Miller’s winning goal in the 1989 Scottish Cup final - the four categories in question are goals, penalties, red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

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If he or any of his team notice an error, it is the VARs gig to contact the referee on field via an earpiece, advising him either that a mistake had been made, or merely advising strongly they might want to check that last decision themselves. It is then up to the referee to either change his mind or review the footage himself on a pitch-side screen, before deciding whether to overturn it or leave things as was.

All this palaver, mind you, can obviously take a while – something of a problem when supporters in the ground or across the world want the immediacy of losing their senses if their nation manages to score a goal on this global stage. Handily, Fifa have another innovation to show off, a ‘networked touch tablet’ which will convey info to broadcasters and in-ground scoreboards to try to keep the paying punters in the loop.

So what could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot actually. To put it mildly, deciding what constitutes a ‘clear and obvious error’ remains a grey area, as does how keen referees are to admit their mistakes. Expect patchy, inconsistent decision-making from match to match, if not so much within a single game. While this crack squad of VARs and assistants – it consists of nine European match officials, three from South America and one from Asia – are generally well versed in how VAR works, that doesn’t automatically apply for the match officials themselves. The language barrier too can be a problem.

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Given the number of contentious decisions a World Cup throws up, it seems only a matter of time before the first VAR controversy of Russia 2018 arises. Think back to Sergio Ramos versus Mo Farah in the Champions League final – an arm grab which injured a star player in a showpiece match in a manner surreptitious enough to make even repeated viewings inconclusive about his intention to harm. Incidentally, these two players could meet in the last 16. Or how about the Confederations Cup final, when Serbian ref Milorad Mazic watched Gonzalo Jara elbow Timo Werner on a pitchside screen, only to offer a yellow card. Someone will see red over VAR at this World Cup alright.