The draws for the AFC Champions League were declared on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur. Mumbai City FC, which is the only club from India, has been placed in Group D, alongside Saudi Arabian giants Al Hilal, Nassaji Mazandaran from Iran, and Navbahor from Uzbekistan. VAR is expected to be used for these matches for just the second time in India.
Mumbai City FC won the League Shield during the ISL 2022–23, and after defeating Jamshedpur FC in the play-off that followed, they advanced to the AFC Champions League group stage for the second consecutive year.
Mumbai City FC, which earlier this year won the Indian Super League Shield, will take part in the AFC Champions League for the second straight year. All of MCFC's home games will be held at Balewadi’s, Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune. This will be the second instance, full-fledged VAR will be used in India since the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which was held across three cities last year.
What is VAR?
A video assistant referee (VAR) is a match official, who has independent access to match footage. A VAR is meant to assist the referee only in the event of a 'clear and obvious error' or 'serious missed incident'. Apart from them, it also guides the on-field officials in goal or non-goal, and off-side and on-side incidents.
In the AFC Champions League, VAR is used for the knockout stages, however, reports have emerged that the AFC will incorporate VAR in group stages this season.
To participate in the AFC Champions League, Al Hilal’s newest signing, Neymar, is expected to come to India for the first time. He's likely to feature in the game held in Pune against Mumbai City FC. This will be a huge occasion, and the stadium is expected to be packed to see the legend in action.