AMSTERDAM Two Dutch Cup matches this week will serve as the backdrop for the first live testing of a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) as football takes another step closer to the introduction of technology in on-field decision making.
Last month, video technology was used as France beat Italy in a friendly international in Bari, although it did not involve stopping the action to study replays.
That could happen at Wednesday's match between Ajax Amsterdam and Willem III Tilburg at the Amsterdam Arena and Thursday's clash between Feyenoord Rotterdam and FC Oss, however.
On Wednesday, referee Pol van Boekel will be connected to video referee Danny Makkelie by means of a headset and will be able to freely communicate during the game. The two officials will reverse their roles on Thursday.
The VAR can review an incident when asked by the match referee as well as advise officials on the field about incidents they may have missed.
"We decided already in 2011 to try and get video assistant referees introduced to football," said Gijs de Jong, the Dutch football association's operational director.
"Since then, technology has developed and there has been an increasing international lobby for change. We are doing it to make play more honest and to assist the referee in what is always a difficult task."
The International Football Association Board (IFAB), which oversees the rules of the game, is expected to decide in 2018 whether to authorise the use of video technology and include it in the laws.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)