The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed that the AFC Asian Cup 2019 will make use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) from the knockout stages of the continental competition.
It said that the use of VAR was approved by the AFC Referees Committee from the quarterfinals of the AFC Asian Cup onwards. The VAR will be used for 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.
“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,” said AFC in a statement.
“Working closely with FIFA and the International Football Association Board (IFAB) as well as 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,” it said.
“Asian football is determined to embrace technology for the good of the game and we are looking into the introduction of VAR at some stage during the AFC’s pinnacle competition – the AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.” – @theafcdotcom president Shaikh Salman. pic.twitter.com/ZNCpsKwPKO
— The Asian Game (@TheAsianGame) September 27, 2018
“We are grateful to FIFA, the IFAB and the Asian Cup Local Organising Committee for their outstanding support in making VAR a reality at the AFC Asian Cup,” said AFC general secretary Dato’ Windsor John.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
The inclusion of VAR at the quarter-final stage is in line with CAF, the Confederation 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.
The VAR was used at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and will make its debut in various competitions across the world soon including the UEFA Champions League in 2019-20.
The latest edition of the quadrennial AFC Asian Cup will be held in the UAE form January 5 to February 1, 2019. Australia are the defending champions having won the tournament that they hosted back in 2015.