5 August 2019 – Before the third Bundesliga season featuring the video assistant starts on 16 August, the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and the German Football Association (DFB) informed representatives of all Bundesliga clubs of the enhancements regarding the video assistant and refereeing at a series of workshops today (Monday). Representatives of Bundesliga 2 clubs were also informed of the enhancement of the video assistant before the new Bundesliga 2 season kicked off. In addition, the revamped and extended Video Assist Centre (VAC) in Cologne was presented to the club representatives.
Even more transparency for fans and faster information
Fans in the stadiums and TV viewers will get information from the VAC more quickly in the 2019-20 season. The compact text explanations on the stadium screens are to be conveyed to the clubs’ stadium management teams during a relevant check (in the event of a goal, penalty kick, red card or mistaken identity) so that the information blocks can be relayed to stadium visitors more quickly and during the check itself. The same information is available to TV viewers in the form of graphics via the base signal. Media partners have the option of using these graphics.
Faster communication to the stadium and for fans watching on TV are not the only ways in which transparency and the clarity of the video assistant’s work are being improved even more. New camera angles also give fans even more transparent insight into the activities of the video assistant in Cologne. To this end, a camera has been set up at the side of each workstation, clearly showing the video assistant’s face as well as the monitors used. If a check is performed during a match, prompting the referee to go over to the pitchside review area in order to compare his perception of the incident with the camera pictures on the significantly enlarged monitor, TV viewers can see a “3-way split”.
See through the referee’s eyes with the “3-way split”
What pictures did the referee look at? The new “3-way split”, which is displayed when the referee goes over to the review area, allows viewers in front of screens to see the respective scenes through the referee’s eyes, as it were. In a big window on the left-hand side, the picture selection of the “3-way split” shows the sequences that the video assistant gives the referee to perform the check. In a small window top-right in the “3-way split”, the referee is shown at the monitor in the review area, while the window bottom-right focuses on the corresponding video assist team. This new integration concept in the base signal makes the referee’s decision-making more transparent.
Ansgar Schwenken, DFL Executive Vice President of Football Affairs & Fans and a member of the DFL Management Board, says: “The innovations make the use of the video assistant even more transparent. The fans in the stadium find out what is happening more quickly and during the decision-making process itself. With the new camera angles, TV viewers gain deeper insight into the referee’s decision-making during an on-field review. These innovations also met a very positive response in the workshops with representatives of the professional clubs.”
Dr Jochen Drees, project manager for video assistant matters at the DFB, says: “We absolutely welcome the faster information flow and this more transparent form of presentation, which marks the next step in the process for us. These innovations give a face to the video assistant in the VAC. This ensures increased transparency, helping people to understand the basis on which decisions are made.”
Video assistant officially introduced in the Bundesliga 2 – Revamped VAC
After the Bundesliga 2 clubs expressed their support for the introduction of the video assistant at a meeting in March 2019 and the ordinary assembly of the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga e.V. in May unanimously approved the change to the league statute required for uniform use of the video assistant, the technical aid is also helping referees on the pitch at the matches in Bundesliga 2 since the start of the 2019-20 season. The same video assist technology in place in the Bundesliga is being used.
The Video Assist Centre in Cologne has been extended from six to ten workstations, partly due to the use of the video assistant in the Bundesliga 2 and the associated increased capacity requirements. In addition, the VAC has been almost entirely revamped in recent months, including further improvements to the professional working conditions such as a new lighting concept. Despite modern renovation measures, the premise remains the same: the decision on the pitch is always made by the referee. The video assistant is not there to make a better decision. Also, there will still be situations that cannot be clearly resolved. Even so, the video assistant is an aid that makes football in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 that bit fairer in the event of clear and obvious mistakes.