The demand for football to employ a video referee system has gained
substantial traction over the years due to successful implementations of video
review technology in other major sports. In March of 2016 The International
Football Association Board (IFAB), who acts as the governing body for FIFA's
Laws of the Game, approved a two-year period of live experiments using video
to assist referees in identifying clear errors in match-changing situations to
ultimately determine if Video Assistant Referees (VARs) would improve the
Shortly after the announcement, a set of protocols and principles were
established by The IFAB and many top flight football leagues began testing
with technology providers in both offline (VAR does not have any influence on
the match) and online matches (VAR has a line of communication with the
As of March 2018, The IFAB unanimously approved the use of VAR technology in
association football going forward due to the positive impact it made to the
sport during the experimental period.
The Jupiler Pro League (JPL) is the top football league in Belgium, consisting
of 16 association football clubs. JPL is currently ranked 10th in the UEFA
rankings of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the
last five years.
In December 2016, the JPL was one of the first domestic football leagues to
acknowledge their participation in the initial offline testing phase of VARs
and selected Evertz as their technology provider.
After much success with the offline trials, the governing body of the JPL
decided to move forward with the online testing of VAR technology for the
start of the 2017-2018 season. In order to accomplish a full-scale roll out of
the video technology, a partnership between Evertz and StudioTech Belgium was
established, which included creating a fleet of vans to act as mobile Video
Operation Rooms (VORs) completely outfitted with the Evertz VAR solution.
Each mobile VOR has been equipped to fit the current needs of the JPL through
a combination of Evertz' industry leading broadcast technology. At the heart
of the solution is the DC-VAR. This scalable replay review platform provides
JPL officials with advanced tools to make a definitive decision in the
shortest possible time. A familiar controller design and intuitive touch
interface provides VAR Replay Operators the ability to quickly zoom, rewind,
and adjust playback speed of video on all broadcast cameras while remaining
frame accurate. This provides views of any necessary details for precise
analysis of the situation being reviewed.
DC-VAR allows for custom button creation which provides quick execution of
repetitive actions as well as enabling groups of cameras to be viewed based on
spatial playing regions.
All Evertz equipment currently being used in the mobile VORs is prepared for
installation in a centralized replay center and is ready for use in a remote
facility if JPL chooses to go down that route. With an impeccable track record
providing replay review for the top sports leagues in the world, the DC-VAR
has proven reliable in both mobile and centralized designs.
A cluster of DC-VARs provides a scalable and flexible VAR platform that
fulfills the requirements for each match day. Multiple operator stations can
be linked together for seamless viewing and control of all broadcast cameras
on a single monitor for the Video Assistant Referee. The simplicity of the
DreamCatcher™ VAR interface allows match officials to efficiently
operate the VAR platform without the need for industry trained replay
operators. This improves the overall accuracy of the video review process and
helps achieve the main philosophy of the VAR project, "Minimum interference -
The DreamCatcher™ VAR platform provides an automated
process that exports clips of situations to The IFAB for further analysis.
This allows for VAR project managers to easily comply with the reporting and
data collection protocols of The IFAB. The flexibility of Evertz equipment
allows it to replay previously recorded matches and clips so they may be used
as a training tools. Each DreamCatcher™ VAR installation also includes
enrollment in the DreamCatcher™ VAR Academy for all Replay Operators,
VARs, AVARs, and Technical Guarantees. This academy is taught by a dedicated
Evertz VAR specialist who provides detailed training for all positions in the
Video Operations Room on VAR protocols and workflows.
The JPL's VAR platform provides an accurate, time effective solution to the
league's challenge of creating a fairer and more transparent competition. The
tailored VAR interface allows both experienced operators and new comers such
as referees to be successful at delivering the best angles for viewing through
the help of the DreamCatcher™ VAR Academy.
The impact of Evertz'
solution on the JPL cannot be denied as stats from the 2018 playoffs show that
over 475 incidents were reviewed, of which 30 resulted in the use of video
correcting the decision on the field. Each review was timed and found to have
an average length of only 17s. This average highlights the minimum
interference VAR technology plays on the flow of the match. After a successful
2017-2018 trial year, the JPL has selected Evertz DreamCatcher™ VAR
solution to handle the video refereeing technology on a 6-year contract, the
longest deal of its kind.