Dylan McGowan of Australia stretches at a training session.
Dylan McGowan of Australia stretches at a training session. Daniel Kalisz

McGowan confident video refs will get decisions right

SOCCEROOS defender Ryan McGowan is confident that Fifa's use of Video Assistant Referees at this year's Confederations Cup will ensure that major decisions are called correctly during the tournament.

The Australian team this week held a meeting with match officials to have the process explained to them, as well as receiving instruction on the specifics of the unsportsmanlike behaviour referees have been told to clamp down on hard.

"Every major decision will be looked at straight away [using VAR]," said McGowan, ahead of the Socceroos' latest training session at their base in Sochi.

"If we think it's a penalty, not a penalty, [we've ben told] not to try and surround the ref or anything like that.

"It will all be taken care of by someone upstairs. It might take 30seconds, it might take 90 seconds, but eventually they'll come to the right conclusion and they'll bring it back in play."

VAR was used in the A-League in the latter stages of the season just passed, though with the vast majority of the Socceroos squad based at overseas clubs, the process will be new to most.

FIFA formally launched the "fair play" initiative with the game's law-making body IFAB earlier this week "focusing on improving fairness and the image of the game".

"Referees, players, coaches and fans all agree that improving player behaviour and respect for all participants (and especially match officials), increasing playing time and the game's fairness and attractiveness must be football's main priority," IFAB technical director David Elleray said.

Surrounding match officials to protest decisions - "mobbing" - will be particularly firmly dealt with. Referees have also been instructed to take care to add sufficient time for time wasting during substitutions, dubious injuries and goal celebrations.

"The 'play fair' initiative is a plan for football," former Dutch international and now FIFA technical director Marco van Basten said.

"This strategy aims to promote fairness and integrity, ensure the game is accessible to everyone and optimise the use of technology."

The Socceroos open their Confederations Cup campaign against Germany on Tuesday (1am AEST), with matches against Cameroon and Chile to come in the following six days of a condensed competition.

With that in mind, McGowan expects the majority of the playing group to see meaningful action.

"I think there'll be a lot of rotation. I'm pretty sure (coach Ange Postecoglou] has never played the same starting 11 two games in a row," McGowan said.

"These games are high intensity, a lot of pressure on them, so I'd imagine most of the squad will be used.

"Whether you play through 90 minutes, or the last 10 minutes ... you need to be ready for what you need to do. I think the whole squad is.

"This is what we've been preparing for.

"Friendlies are all well and good. But we really want to do it on the world stage with everyone watching and the whole world watching. It's a great opportunity for us to really show people what we can do."

News Corp Australia

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