Panama City, Mar 17 (EFE).- The president of soccer’s world governing body said Saturday during a visit to Panama’s capital that video assistant referee (VAR) technology was here to stay and that its use at the upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia would make that tournament a historic event.
“VAR is an important step in soccer. I’m convinced it’s going to be a big help to referees,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a press conference.
On Friday in Bogota, the FIFA Council approved the use of VAR at this summer’s World Cup.
“The goal of the system is to help referees correct a major mistake. It’s about ensuring fairness and transparency. I was skeptical about the system, but we have to be open to the future,” Infantino said Saturday.
Speaking about soccer in Central America, Infantino said he was pleased with the region’s progress and congratulated Costa Rica and Panama on having secured berths in Russia.
Infantino also said that FIFA’s image had improved after a flurry of corruption scandals under the administration of Sepp Blatter.
“FIFA’s image was terrible, but I’m pleased that in the two years we’ve been at the head of the organization FIFA has a solid image,” he said.
Infantino met after the press conference with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, a big soccer fan who declared a national holiday last fall after the country secured its first-ever World Cup berth.