The referee may receive assistance from the VAR only in relation to four categories of match-changing decisions/incidents. In all these situations, the VAR is only used after the referee has made a (first/original) decision (including allowing play to continue), or if a serious incident is missed/not seen by the match officials.

The referee`s original decision will not be changed unless there was a ‘clear and obvious error’ (this includes any decision made by the referee based on information from another match official e.g. offside).

The categories of decision/incident which may be reviewed in the event of a potential ‘clear and obvious error’ or ‘serious missed incident’ are:

a. Goal/no goal

  • attacking team offence in the build-up to or scoring of the goal (handball, foul, offside etc.)

  • ball out of play prior to the goal

  • goal/no goal decisions

  • offence by goalkeeper and/or kicker at the taking of a penalty kick or encroachment by an attacker or defender who becomes directly involved in play if the penalty kick rebounds from the goalpost, crossbar or goalkeeper

b. Penalty kick/no penalty kick

  • attacking team offence in the build-up to the penalty incident (handball, foul, offside etc.)

  • ball out of play prior to the incident

  • location of offence (inside or outside the penalty area)

  • penalty kick incorrectly awarded

  • penalty kick offence not penalised

c. Direct red cards (not second yellow card/caution)

  • DOGSO (especially position of offence and positions of other players)

  • serious foul play (or reckless challenge)

  • violent conduct, biting or spitting at another person

  • using offensive, insulting or abusive gestures

d. Mistaken identity (red or yellow card)

If the referee penalises an offence and then gives the wrong player from the offending (penalised) team a yellow or red card, the identity of the offender can be reviewed; the actual offence itself cannot be reviewed unless it relates to a goal, penalty incident or direct red card.