EA Explains Why FIFA 19 Won't Have the World Cup's Biggest Talking Point, VAR

From the sound of it, the Video Assistant Referee won't be giving any dodgy penalties for a little while yet.

If you followed this summer's 2018 World Cup in Russia (Our US readers might not have watched as much as they would have had the National team actually qualified for the tournament), chances are you noticed the referee occasionally wander off to look at a screen. This was in fact the final stage of the VAR system, meaning the off-pitch ref who had consulted replay footage had deemed an incident warranted another look by the on-pitch ref. This system is not going to be in FIFA 19.

VAR added an awful lot of drama to big moments during the World Cup. While on paper the system should eliminate bad refereeing decisions, in reality there were still many penalties given or not given that caused a lot of heated discussion. The fact that these vital calls came after minutes of deliberation added to the tension.

Speaking to Eurogamer, FIFA creative director Matt Prior has essentially killed the idea of VAR coming to FIFA 19, but seems open to its inclusion in the future. "If it becomes part of the footballing fabric to the point where it feels weird that it isn't in a regular game, even if we don't need it, then it's something we can look at introducing," said Prior.

While Prior has a point, it's not as if VAR isn't going to be common pretty soon. Although the Premier League voted against using VAR in the 2018/2019 season, the system is set to be used in La Liga, the Bundesliga and Serie A. It's expected that the Premier League will vote next year on the use of VAR in the 2019/2020 season. Who knows if a YES vote will mean VAR comes to FIFA 20. According to Prior, VAR is something the studio is "monitoring and keeping an eye on".

FIFA, of course, already has a referee able to make decisions real life refs would struggle with. As a video game it has clear data on foul locations, player positions for offsides, and the like. The theatrics of VAR would, in my opinion, be a nice touch, however.

For more on FIFA, check out our FIFA 18 guide. We've got pages on the best young players in FIFA 18, plus the best formations to use in FIFA 18.