23rd January 2019
AFC Asian Cup history will be made tomorrow when the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system makes its debut from the first quarter-finals of the Continental showpiece, which sees Vietnam take on Japan at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai at 5:00pm local time.
Leading Asian refereeing in the milestone implementation is none other than Mohammed Abdulla Mohamed from the UAE, who will be supported by Assistant Referees, Mohamed Alhammadi and Hassan Almahri, who featured in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The Emirati trio, who will be assisted by compatriot and fourth official Ammar Aljneibi, officiated the Group C match between France and Peru in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Australia’s Christopher Beath has been appointed as the VAR and will be assisted by Muhammad Taqi Bin Jahari from Singapore as well as Italian Paolo Valeri.
In addition to organising a comprehensive series of VAR specific workshops since September last year, the AFC has also successfully completed a robust test of the system during the Round of 16 stage across the four quarter-final venues.
These include the Zayed Sport City Stadium and Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain’s Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium and the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.
Some of the industry’s most renowned figures which include, IFAB Technical Director, David Elleray, FIFA Referees’ Committee Chairman, Pierluigi Collina, and Head of FIFA Refereeing, Massimo Busacca have also been invited to the UAE by the AFC to ensure the highest VAR standards and protocols are observed.
“The VAR system is undoubtedly the future of football,” said IFAB Technical Director, David Elleray, who has spent the last 12 days in the UAE working with the referees and VARs.
“Across the world, we can see the positive impact of VAR and it was a wise and calculated decision by the AFC to introduce VARs from the quarter-final stage onwards to ensure that all elements of a complex technology system are operating well, and the referees and VARs are fully trained.
“The philosophy behind the system is “minimum interference for maximum benefit” - the VAR is there not to influence every decision but to help the referee when there is a clear error or something serious has been missed in a match-changing incident.
“For that reason, the VAR can only become involved in goal, penalty and direct red card incidents,” added the former English international referee who officiated in nearly 200 Premier League matches.
Elleray said: “As we saw during the FIFA World Cup in Russia, the VAR brings fairness without interrupting the essential flow and emotion of the game. I am confident that the Asian Cup will benefit immensely from having the VAR system in place, and the IFAB applauds the AFC for their decisive and rationale approach of increasing fairness in Asian football.”
The VAR system will be limited to four game-changing decisions or incidents. These are goal or no goal, penalty-kicks, red cards and mistaken identity decisions. For an overview of everything you need to know about the implementation of the VAR system at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, please click here <https://the-afc.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=7cf620b4dcd5182318a26a3fe&id=11efbb1f81&e=61d37ad3e7>.