The German Football Association (DFB) and the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH will begin testing the use of video assistants at the start of the 2016/17 Bundesliga season. German football aims to be at the forefront of digital technology in football by testing the use of video assistants at the highest level. This season, there will be up to four Bundesliga matches with access to the technology. As written in the laws of football by the International Football Association Board, it will be used in four different decisive match situations: scoring goals, penalties, sendings-off and mistaken identities regarding yellow and red cards.
There will be two different test phases in the Bundesliga. The first will be a ‘offline’ test during the 2016/17 season where the video assistant will have no influence on the game. This phase will be used to train both video assistants and referees before the technology is introduced into live scenarios at the start of the 2017/18 season, when it will have an immediate impact on various decisions. However, the referee will still have the final say.
The offline tests in 2016/17 will take place behind the scenes and there will be no communication between the referees and video assistants. Live tests in friendlies and in training will be carried out alongside the offline tests so that practical experience can be gained ahead of the second test phase. The video assistants will be active, retired or former Bundesliga referees who are still involved in the education of young officials at the highest level. They will not follow the games at the stadiums, but will instead monitor them from a central hub in Cologne, where they will have access to the complete TV production coverage.
Further measures will also take place during the offline testing period, such as regular education of video assistants and publication of educational content to help the collaboration with Bundesliga referees. Furthermore, the length and number of potential interventions will be recorded, camera positions will be monitored to give the video assistants the best possible view of the relevant match situation, the various ways that video assistants can be used will be evaluated and the available technology will be developed and improved. All the while the DFB and DFL will be in constant contact with FIFA, the IFAB and other participating leagues and associations. There will be a thorough analysis and evaluation of the test results, as well as a presentation of the interim results after the first half of the Bundesliga season at the beginning of 2017.