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VAR set for African debut at Nations Championship

VAR set for African debut at Nations Championship

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By: SportBusiness International team

29 Nov 2017
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The Confederation of African Football has confirmed that video assistant referees (VAR) will be used during one of its competitions for the first time at next year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco.

The technology will be introduced in the quarter-final stage of the tournament, which is contested by Africa-based players only. The competition will run from January 13 to February 4.

African referees who have been shortlisted for next year’s Fifa World Cup in Russia and have previous VAR training will be called upon for the CHAN.

CAF took the decision to trial VAR during its Referees’ Committee meeting in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, where it was also agreed that all member associations should have a functional refereeing department. Members of the committee have also been assigned specific geographical zones to ensure the implementation of the committee’s decisions and the monitoring of CAF referees.

Morocco was last month awarded hosting rights for the 2018 CHAN after the event was stripped from Kenya, where only one of the four venues said to have been ready and there are concerns over the political situation in the country.

It will mark the first time Morocco has staged the CHAN, which was created in 2009 and is held on a biennial basis. DR Congo is the defending champion after beating Mali 3-0 in the final of the 2016 tournament, which was held in Rwanda.

VAR was used during this summer’s Fifa Confederations Cup in Russia and during last year’s Club World Cup in Japan. The technology is already in place in the German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, Portuguese Primeira Liga and North America’s Major League Soccer, while LaLiga president Javier Tebas earlier this month confirmed the top division of Spanish football would introduce VAR from the 2018-19 season.

The system is used for incidents such as goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity. Leagues that use the extra technology feature a fifth match official who studies video footage of an incident before a decision is reached by the referee.

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