FIFA held its second referee media briefing of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Friday 29 June looking back at refereeing matters over the 48-match group stage. It follows the first referee media briefing held on Tuesday 12 June.
Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee Pierluigi Collina, FIFA's Director of Refereeing Massimo Busacca and VAR Refereeing Project Leader Roberto Rosetti analysed situations in different group matches and answered questions from journalists.
You can watch the live stream of the briefing above.
A number of stats from the group stage were presented:
Yellow cards: 162 (3.4 average per match)
Red cards: 1 direct, 2 second yellow cards
Penalty kicks: 24 (7 VAR)
Actual playing time: 56min 45sec average per match
Additional time: 6min 15sec average per match
VAR ‘Checks’: 335 incidents checked (6.9 average per match)
VAR Reviews: 17
Decisions changed after VAR Review: 14
Decisions confirmed after VAR Review: 3
Match changing decisions accuracy: 95 per cent correct without VAR, 99.3 per cent correct with VAR
What they said
Chairman of the FIFA Referees' Committee Pierluigi Collina I want to generally thank the players and coaches in terms of their behaviour… We are pleased about this. The average of 3.4 yellow cards per match is absolutely in line with other major competitions. The number of red cards is definitely lower… something that proves the respect of the players for their opponents so far has been very good. We told the referees to be very accurate in protecting the image of the game and the safety of the players – all the referees understood the instructions.
During a competition, it’s not possible that everything goes 100 per cent perfectly. Some things have to be fine-tuned based on what is occurring in the first matches. 95 per cent of the decisions taken by the referees without the VAR were correct, and this percentage increased to 99.3 per cent thanks to the intervention of the VAR. Something that’s always been said – VAR does not mean perfection. But as you can see 99.3 per cent is something that is very, very close.
Director of FIFA Refereeing Massimo Busacca At this stage, we haven’t decided yet who is going to remain, who is going to go. It’s not time to think about that. It’s time to celebrate after the 48 games. Later, we will decide about officials for the rest of the competition. We will make an evaluation… We will be very honest like how a coach is looking at players. In general, we are very happy about the performances. Today, I think VAR has helped a lot.
FIFA VAR Refereeing Project Leader Roberto Rosetti At the centre of the decision-making process, there is the referee. The VAR doesn’t decide. The VAR just recommends an on-field review. Only the referee has to take the final decision. This is the difference between interpretation, subjective decisions and factual decisions. For all interpretations, we want the referee at the centre of the decision-making.