THE introduction of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) to Scottish football is inevitable and will significantly reduce the number of mistakes made by officials in this country.

That was the view expressed by John Fleming, the head of refereeing operations at the SFA, yesterday.

VAR is being used in the World Cup finals for the first time at Russia 2018 and has divided opinion among players, managers and supporters.

But Fleming, who has been involved in the development of the system with the International Football Association Board (IFAB), is an advocate of it.

VAR has been trialled in 14 leagues around the world, including in Australia, Germany, Italy, Portugal, South Korea and the United States, during the past two years.

And another 14 nations have committed to using the new technology, which allows a match official to review his decision by the pitchside, during the 2018/19 campaign.

Scotland aren’t among them – but Fleming feels it is only a matter of time before they sign up and VAR becomes an accepted part of the game here.

Asked if the arrival of VAR in this country was inevitable in future, Fleming said: “I think so.

“I know Scotland are sitting looking at it from the outside. England are waiting for the outcome of the World Cup. They are virtually there.

“Change can be very difficult. But once the spectator accepts that technology is there to assist and help us then it will come in. It will just be seamless.

“I think you will always need it. At the moment, the referee makes 93 per cent correct decisions, which is quite high. VAR takes it up to 98 per cent. Do you want that extra five per cent or not?

“You will want it if it is your team and it is the difference between demotion and promotion, getting into the next round of the cup, winning the cup, getting put out of the cup. That is the telling factor.”

Fleming added: “Years from now we will be wondering what all the fuss was about because it will be an accepted part of the game.

“Nobody speaks about goalline technology any more. Down south the referee just looks at his watch and points and nobody challenges him. Not even the keeper. It is amazing. Everybody just accepts it.

“I am positive about VAR. I will be interested to see the outcomes of it at the World Cup. The determining factor will be the last seven games.”

The decision on whether to bring in VAR in Scotland will ultimately be made by the SPFL and Fleming revealed the cost will effectively be determined by IFAB after the World Cup.

“The SPFL is a successful organisation, more successful now than it has ever been,” he said. “They will make the right decision for the SPFL.

"The Scottish FA is an extremely successful organisation as well and the chief executive and the board will make the right decision for them as well.

“They will decide what their priorities are, what their strategy is and whether VAR is part of their strategy.”

Fleming added: “There are numerous figures which have been bandied about – it will cost £1 million, it will cost £2 million.

“The IFAB quality programme will determine the minimum standard to run VAR. Then it is entirely up to the SPFL and the SFA what they want to do with their finances.

“They will decide whether it is more important to invest in youth academies, structures, safety.

“They will come to my door one day and say ‘we want to apply VAR’. I will then apply what they ask me to do.”