The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology will be making its debut in India with the AFC Women’s Asian Cup. Modern technology will be used during the knockout stage of the continental competition. The AFC Women’s Asian Cup will be played across three venues in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Pune from January 20 to February 6.
The knockout stage of the tournament, starting from January 30, will see VAR being used for decision-making purposes. The technology will be used till the final match on February 6 across the two knockout venues — DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai and the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune. Preparations for installation and setup of the technology have already begun in the respective venues.
Apart from stadiums on match-days, the VAR technology will also be available for referees at their training sites and simulators will also be made available to the referees in their hotel. The AFC is leaving no stones unturned in ensuring the highest standards of refereeing at the tournament with multiple technical tests being performed at the stadiums and training sites before the VAR is officially introduced in the country, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said.
VAR and On-field Referees to work in tandem
During the tournament, six dedicated video match officials will have access to seven different live camera feeds to inspect every action on the field. There are four categories of decisions that VAR can review — goal/no goal, penalty/no penalty, direct red card, and mistaken identity in awarding a red or yellow card.
The VAR match official and the on-field referee will work in tandem to make the category of decisions wherein either the VAR or the on-field referee can initiate a review.
The VAR then can recommend the on-field referee to overturn a decision in case a clear error is spotted. However, the on-field referee may choose to conduct an On-Field Review (OFR) by halting the game and reviewing footage from the screen which will be installed in the Referee Review Area behind the fourth official’s bench, just outside the touchline of the playing pitch. Also, the on-field referee is not compelled to abide by the suggestions from VAR and can ignore it at times.