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VAR ready for historic AFC Club Competitions debut tomorrow


Doha: Asian football history will be made tomorrow as the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system marks its debut in the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Club Competitions when Saudi Arabian giants Al Nassr and Al Ahli Saudi FC battle in the AFC Champions League Quarter-finals at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium at 4:40pm (Mecca) in Doha, Qatar.

Asian refereeing set new benchmarks earlier this year when the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 became the first AFC competition to successfully implement VAR across all 32 matches.

Now Asia’s premier club tournament will become the third AFC competition to embrace the latest in technology from the Quarter-finals after it was first introduced from the same stage of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

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Now Asia’s premier club tournament will become the third AFC competition to embrace the latest in technology from the Quarter-finals after it was first introduced from the same stage of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “Asian referees are already among the best in the world, but we must continue to set higher standards to ensure the AFC continues to be leaders in world refereeing.

“So much has gone into the successful and safe restart of the AFC Champions League in the West region and the introduction of the VAR system from the Quarter-final stage reinforces the AFC’s Vision to provide the ultimate stage for our players, teams and match officials to showcase their undeniable talent.

“The AFC has a proven track record in the implementation of the VAR system and I would like to thank FIFA, IFAB, our technology partners, our host association - the Qatar Football Association and all our stakeholders for ensuring our matches are delivered to the highest standards possible.”

As part of the AFC’s commitment to ensure Asia’s match officials are equipped with the latest in VAR developments, numerous seminars and courses have been organised with the first-ever online AFC VAR course held as recent as last month, which engaged a total of 104 AFC Elite Match Officials from 19 Member Associations.

Additionally, to further enhance the AFC’s VAR capabilities, a virtual AFC VAR Information Officer (VIO) Workshop 2020 was organised on August 26 to ensure VIOs are well-versed with the technical requirements of the VAR system.

The VAR system, which aims to provide minimum interference with maximum benefits, is limited to four game-changing decisions or incidents, specifically - goal or no goal, penalty-kicks, direct red cards and mistaken identity decisions.

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