VAR to Be Implemented at All AFC Club Competitions for 2024/25 Season

In the forthcoming 2024/25 season, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is poised to enhance its officiating standards with the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system across its new three-tier club competition structure, as well as the first-ever AFC Women’s Champions League.

The top-tier AFC Champions League Elite will see VAR technology being used from the League Stage starting this September. This competition will host the continent’s premier 24 teams vying for the championship. In a progressive move for the sport, the AFC Women’s Champions League is set to adopt VAR from the Semi-finals and Final, reflecting the AFC’s dedication to advancing women’s football in Asia.

For the second-tier AFC Champions League Two, comprising 32 teams, VAR will be utilised from the Knockout Stage onward, with the season commencing in September. The AFC Challenge League, featuring a roster of 20 teams, will see VAR implemented in the decisive Final in May 2025.

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Operational Training and Implementation:

  • The AFC orchestrated a Video Assistant Referees Course in 2023 to prepare its match officials for technological integration
  • An upcoming AFC VAR Information Officer Workshop aims to ensure that VAR Information Officers from various member associations are updated on technological progress in officiating

Recent Technological Milestones:

  • VAR was deployed across all AFC Asian Cup™ fixtures for the first time, marking a significant step in match officiating at the confederation level
  • The Confederation pioneered the use of Semi-Automated Offside Technology at a Continental Men’s national team tournament, showcasing its leadership in technology use in football

With these strategic reforms, the AFC solidifies its status as a leader in the adoption of technology in football, guaranteeing fair play, enhancing the quality of officiating, and fostering a reliable environment for teams competing on the Asian stage. The commitment to consistency and accuracy in football outcomes resonates with the passionate following of fans and stakeholders, confirming the Confederation’s forward-thinking approach.

VAR Integration into AFC Club Contests for the 2024/25 Season

For the 2024/25 campaign, Video Assistant Referee technology will be a part of AFC club tournaments from the initial stages. The integration will facilitate real-time video analysis for officials to monitor and review decisions from various camera angles during matches.

Potential Impact of VAR on Match Progression in AFC Tournaments

  • Match Flow: Introducing VAR may lead to temporary pauses during important reviews.
  • Interruption Reduction: Efforts are made to limit disruptions, ensuring that technology enhances, rather than hinders, the fluidity of the game.

VAR Training for AFC Referees

  • Preparation: Referees will undergo comprehensive training on VAR operations, including simulated match situations.
  • Ongoing Support: Consistent evaluation and training updates will be executed to maintain the referees’ proficiency with the system.

Effect of VAR on Decision Making in the AFC Champions League

  • Accuracy: The implementation of VAR is expected to increase the percentage of correct decisions in critical match moments.
  • Overturned Decisions: Referees can alter their initial rulings based on VAR insights, aiming to reach fairer outcomes.

Guidelines for VAR Usage in the 2024/25 AFC Club Tournaments

  • Specific Conditions: The VAR system will be used for clear errors in specific situations like goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents, and mistaken identity.
  • Protocol: Strict protocols on when and how VAR can be invoked are established to standardize its application across all games.

Comprehensive VAR Usage Throughout the AFC Club Competitions

  • All Phases: VAR will be in use for both the group and knockout stages of the tournament.
  • Consistency: The consistent use of VAR throughout aims for fairness and the minimisation of clear and obvious errors.

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