For the first time ever, a competitive game involving two Premier League teams will benefit from Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology.
The technology has been trialled elsewhere, most notably over the summer at the Confederations Cup, with mixed results.
And its first English competitive airing will come in next month’s FA Cup meeting between Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace, who faced off without video refs in the Premier League earlier this month.
The game is one of six third round games to be televised, but the only one to get the VAR treatment as it is just one of two to meet the requirement of taking place at a Premier League ground.
VAR has yet to be used in a competitive domestic game in England, though it has been used in Italy, leaving us with high drama in Lazio’s match against Juventus.
We’ve also seen it deployed in Germany, leading to this example of a player seeing his yellow card turned into a red when the referee got another look at proceedings.
VAR allows referees to bring in a video replay on contentious decisions, often penalties or red cards, with officials working on the premise that the original decision was correct unless the video shows overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
This has led to some controversy in Germany, with VAR project manager Hellmut Krug accused of having unduly influenced decisions (something which he denies).
However the FA feel confident enough to test out the procedure, which may yet be used at next summer’s World Cup.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Brighton and Palace will play on Monday, 8 January and the game will be shown live on BT Sport.
The only other all-Premier League tie to be shown on TV is the Merseyside Derby between Liverpool and Everton on 5 January, while the intervening days are expected to feature Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester, Norwich v Chelsea, Shrewsbury v West Ham and Nottingham Forest v Arsenal.
If confirmed, it will be the first time a Manchester United FA Cup match has not been televised since back in 2004.
(Images: BT Sport/Twitter/Rex Features)