37 out of 55 member states of the European Football Association (Uefa) now have the video review system VAR, and can thus correct erroneous refereeing decisions. In addition to all the major leagues, such as Kosovo, Georgia and – starting this season – Norway are notable.
But Sweden remains outside, along with countries that are basically all much further down the football hierarchy, such as Andorra, Liechstenstein and San Marino.
There are far more countries in Europe that use VAR than do not. Photo: SVT
Judges almost unanimous
This should not be the case. The Swedish judges are almost entirely in agreement on this. A survey that SVT Sport sent out to all Allsvenskan referees – both head referees and assistant referees – 84 percent of the respondents considered that they want VAR in Allsvenskan.
"Our mission is to be as fair as possible. And we believe that if there is technology that can help us, we should of course try to use it, says one of them, Mohammed al-Hakim.
The fact that most of Europe has introduced VAR affects the Swedish referees. Previously, the European Football Association (Uefa) had its own VAR training, but it is now discontinued because most of Europe's top referees have VAR at home.
Only the three Swedish pairs of referees who underwent UEFA's referee training before it was discontinued are now allowed to referee international matches with VAR.
"There is obviously a frustration among those who are under the top judges that we already have in Europe. It's a worry, 'what's going on for us?'" says elite referees manager Stefan Johannesson.
Swedish Cup incident
Mohammed al-Hakim himself suffered from the VAR absence in the Svenska Cupen quarter-final between AIK and Hammarby when he approved a Hammarby goal, which should have been ruled out because of hands.
- VAR is just for situations like that. Not where it might be punishment and maybe not, where someone has pulled a little or has pushed a little. VAR is not for that, so I can calm down those who are against VAR.
He is clear in his message to supporters about what the referees want to use VAR for.
– Clear and crucial situations. And there we certainly have a good example, because it clearly takes on the hand but it is difficult for a judge to detect.
The entire report – with pictures from the referees' kickoff for the season:
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Full report: "Football in the world has decided to have VAR"