The decisive matches in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 are to be enhanced by the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system after the AFC Referees Committee approved its use from the quarter-finals onwards.
Asia already boasts some of the world’s leading referees and now they will be given the additional support of VAR for the tournament quarter-finals, semi-finals and the February 1 final.
The VAR system will therefore be used in seven matches at four venues – Zayed Sports City and Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain and the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.
Working closely with the world’s leading suppliers of VAR technology, the system will be another first for the biggest and best-ever AFC Asian Cup, which features a record 24 teams from all corners of Asia.
After the AFC Referees Committee met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Dato Windsor John, the AFC General Secretary, said: “We are grateful to FIFA, the International Football Association Board and the Asian Cup Local Organising Committee for their outstanding support in making VAR a reality at the AFC Asian Cup.
“The decision to include VAR was only made on September 26 and that has meant a tremendous amount of work has been required to ensure that it can play a role at the tournament from the quarter-final stages.
“We are fortunate in Asia that our referees are among the best in the world of football. Alireza Faghani, from the Islamic Republic of Iran, officiated the third and fourth place match at the FIFA World Cup in Russia 2018 and has also controlled a FIFA Club World Cup final.
“He is not the only shining star of our refereeing community, though, and we are stressing that the VAR is an aid which will support their outstanding decision-making performances in these key knockout matches.”
The inclusion of VAR at the quarter-final stage is in line with CAF, the Cofederation of African Football who introduced VAR at the same stage of the African Cup of Nations while CONMEBOL, the South American Confederation, included VAR at the quarter finals of the Copa Libertadores, their Continental club competition.