German Video Assist Center for Bundesliga referees

DFB introduces the German Video Assist Center. Video Assistant Referees (VARs) support the Bundesliga referees from here for all 306 games during the 2017-2018 season. In this center in Köln six videao assistant referees (VARs) can work simultaneously.

“We are very well prepared”, says Ansgar Schwenken. He is the DFL Director Football Affairs & Fans on their website about the introduction of the center. 127 offline tests and 114 pre-live tests are conducted during the previous season. Schwenken: “All 23 Bundesliga referees from last season are well prepared and will be used as video assistants in the new season.”

How many big mistakes do referees make during the season? The Bundesliga has some interesting stats. In 306 encounters of the past Bundesliga season, refereees made a total of 104 game-related mistakes. “77 of them could have been resolved by the use of the video assistant”.

Video Assist Center used in test
Video Assist Center used in test. Screenshot from DFL moviel

When the VAR will take action

The Video Assist Center will only give advice when there is a clear error. The video refs will only act in the following situations:

  • Goal or no goal
  • Penalty kick decisions
  • Red card situations
  • Situations when a wrong player is punished

Two technical operators support the VAR. They get access to all camera’s in the stadium. That makes them able to get replays from all angles as soon as the VAR wants to review a situation. On each matchday there will be a supervisor where VAR’s can discuss with. The Bundesliga works with a Hawk-Eye system, that is also operates currently for goal-line technology.

First live test of Video Assist Center

Video referees will use the Video Assist Center on August 5th 2017 for the first time. That historical day, they support the referee of the German SuperCup between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

“The acceptance of the tv viewers on the screens worldwide is, in our opinion, decisive for the success of the video assistant,” says Dr. Holger Blask, DFL Director of Audiovisual Rights and Member of the Executive Board. The public introduction of the Video Assist Center is important for the German FA. The DFB goes for transparency. During Bundesliga games next season, tv channels show graphics that indicate the use of the video assistant. “It’s all about how to make the decision-making process transparent”, says Blask. “Any decision must be understood and comprehensible to everyone. That’s is our biggest concern.”

“It is about how to make the decision-making process transparent. And how to resolve any decisions so that everyone can be understand it and it is comprehensible to all viewers,” says Dr. Holger Blask: “This is our big concern.”

Sascha Stegemann in Video Assist Center
Sascha Stegemann in Video Assist Center. Screenshot from DFL introduction of center.

Great learning process for referees

Bundesliga referee Sascha Stegemann becomes one of the VARs. He looks forward to the live use of video technology. “

Bundesliga referee Sascha Stegemann is also looking forward to the new course of the test phase so far: “The last year was very exciting”, he says. The learning process is huge, the work intense. “I am delighted to be able to participate in the live operation of the Video Assist Center next season”.

Check video in German about center on DFL website.

Video Assist Center for German referees.
Video Assist Center for German referees. Screenshot from introduction movie from DFL.


  • Amir Sharifuddin Wong

    Introducing the use of VAR, does it reflect the level of referee’s performance? In my opinion, when all avenue and actions have been taken to improve the standards of refereeing and the referees committee is satisfied that the highest level of performance has been reached yet there are still issues as mentioned:
    Goal or no goal
    Penalty kick decisions
    Red card situations
    Situations when a wrong player is punished
    Then the decision of having VAR would be appropriate to protect the quality of refereeing service to the league.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      It is for goal vs no-goal situations, so it will be used then. Only issue is when the AR flags and it seems no offside you can’t count the goal when the ref has already stopped play.

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