Per multiple reports, UEFA has decided to implement the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system for the round of 16 onward in this year’s competition.
Sky Sports detailed the rationale on why VAR’s implementation date was pushed up (unfortunately not enough to help Bayern Munich against Real Madrid over the years!).
The technology was due to be introduced next season but has been fast-tracked after a series of high-profile refereeing mistakes, with the UEFA Executive Committee announcing the decision after a meeting in Dublin on Monday. The committee has also decided to use VAR at the 2019 Europa League final, in the 2019 Nations League finals and in next year’s European Under-21 Championship finals.
CONFIRMED: Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be used in the @ChampionsLeague from the Round of 16 in Feb 2019 following successful technological testing and the training of referees over the last few months #UEFAExCo pic.twitter.com/r3cOzjahUo— UEFA (@UEFA) December 3, 2018
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin explained his organization’s stance on making the change:
We are ready to use VAR earlier than initially planned and we are convinced that it will be beneficial for our competitions as it will provide valuable help to match officials and will allow to reduce incorrect decisions.
Per the report, VAR will also be used in the 2019/20 Champions League, from the playoff stage of the competition, and at the 2019 UEFA Super Cup. In addition, VAR will be used at the Euro 2020 finals, in the 2020/21 Europa League from the group stage onward, and in the 2021 Nations League finals.
In addition to the Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga currently use VAR, while the Premier League has voted to introduce it as well.