VAR to be used in Celtic and Rangers Europa League matches this week

Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will be in use when Celtic and Rangers play their first UEFA Europa League knockout matches on Thursday.

VAR will be used in the Europa League from Thursday onwards

Celtic travel to Denmark to face FC Copenhagen while the Ibrox side host Portuguese outfit Braga.

English trio Arsenal, Manchester United and Wolves have also qualified for the last-32 stage of the competition.

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UEFA's referees committee chairman Roberto Rosetti said the VAR system had been successful in the Champions League this season, which paved the way for its use in the Europa League.

"We believe that VAR is a crucial project for football," Rosetti said.

"I am very glad that we will now also have VAR in the Europa League, as it will provide vital help for referees to take correct decisions in these important matches.

27 decisions in 108 UCL games 'corrected' by VAR

"We're very happy with the figures that we've seen in the UEFA Champions League group phase and play-offs - in 108 matches in total, 27 decisions have been corrected through the VAR system, which means that a decision has only been overturned every four matches - this shows the quality of the referees' performances.

"In addition, we feel that the time taken to overturn a decision is important. So far this season, the average time for the correction of a decision has been one minute 30 seconds - 15 seconds less than last season.

"However, I would emphasise once more that - in compliance with its protocol - VAR is only for clear and obvious mistakes, and not for controversial situations.

"Football needs good referees above all - match officials with a strong personality on the field of play, who take correct and courageous decisions."

Europe's top referees studied VAR analysis and training at a UEFA winter course in Majorca last month. The officials were also given an update on VAR procedures.

In addition to this season's European club competitions, VAR is also be used at the Women's Champions League final, Euro 2020 and next year's Women's European Championship.

UEFA's executive committee has also decided to introduce VAR for Europe's 2022 World Cup qualifiers, pending FIFA's final approval.