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La Liga to use video refs

Video referees are expected to be used in Spanish football by the 2018/19 season when they are fully approved by Fifa, La Liga president Javier Tebas announced.

Tebas was speaking after Sunday's 1-1 draw between Barcelona and Real Betis, a game in which champions Barca appeared to have been denied a clear goal.

Video replays showed that after Betis' Cristiano Piccini diverted Aleix Vidal's pass towards goal, the ball crossed the line by about a metre before defender Aissi Mandi slid in and scrambled it away.

"The tests are already underway. We have been working on video referees for the last eight months," Tebas told El Pais.

"We will be testing it from next season in La Liga. If Fifa finally approve it, we will start using it from July 2018."

Football's law-making body IFAB last March approved a two-year trial of the video assistant referee system with access to replays to help match officials review key decisions.

Unlike other top leagues in Europe, La Liga does not have goal-line technology available because it is considered too expensive.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique believes match officials need assistance.

"The referees need help, whether it's with cameras or whatever, for decisions that favour us or go against us," he said.

Not everyone, however, is in favour of the technology.

"I'm against video refereeing because it would break the essence of what football is," Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo told Marca. - REUTERS