For the first time it has been confirmed that video assisted device (VAR) will be used to assist referees in the African champions league football matches.
The finals that was played between two known long rivals in the northern part of Africa, Al Ahly football club of Egypt and Esperance football club of Tunisia, which the first leg have been played in Alexandria, home of Al Ahly in Egypt saw the home team beating its opponent 3:1. The sad thing was that the referee was purported to have made certain controversial calls that ordinarily wouldn't have been made despite employment of VAR.
As is commonly known, Video Assisted Referee is used in football matches to quickly help other referees station in a room in other to review any decision made by a center referee with the use of video footage and a head microphone for communication purposes. To this end, VAR will be used in the African continent to assist match officials in detecting offences committed by players that may otherwise go undetected as well as using it to make calls that are difficult or deemed controversial. Unfortunately, this was not the case in the match between the two north African giants. There were 3 penalties that were awarded during the encounter which 2 were labeled as controversial.
The funny thing is that, i do not see the use of the VAR assistants if the 3 or more of them sitting before several monitors, could not come to conclude on the right decision and eventually convey to the center referee, then that is a problem. To leave the entire decision in the hands of the center referee who is probably watching under stress, leaves a lot to be desired.
No wonder Mauricio Pochettino, the current manager of Tottenham said over the confusion generated by VAR during his march against Rochdale in an FA cup mach as "embarrassing", and expressed fears that VAR could kill real emotion in football if care is not taken.
Last year, VAR was test run for the first time during a Super Cup match played between Mezembe football club of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Wayad Casablanca football club of Morocco. The inclusion of VAR in the match generated lots of praise from football fans, football enthusiast and football officials. Since then, CAF officials in conjunction with the world football governing body have been making preparations to commence the usage of VAR in African championships.
It will be remembered that VAR was used in the recently concluded 2018 FIFA World cup Russia, which was won by France. However, there were numerous criticisms regarding the interpretations made by some referees after watching several replays on the monitor.
Recently, the European Football Association stated that it will introduce the usage of VAR for the Champions League permanently. Despite the negative criticism that trailed the introduction of VAR and some of the decisions made by referees, majority of football fans and enthusiasts appear to accept albeit reluctantly, but gradually are coming to terms with the complementary role VAR will contribute in arbitrating decisions that may be regarded as controversial by some referees during football matches.
Other football leagues that have successfully integrated the usage of VAR in their domestic leagues/competitions include the Spain’s La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A, England's EPL and Major League Soccer in the United States.
The introduction of VAR in African championships is the best thing that can happen to the continent. This is so, due to the daylight robberies that have trailed certain decisions made by African match officials against some clubs over the years (as we just witnessed in the encounter between Al Ahly and Esperance). In as much as it will not curb the anomaly completely, it will still go a long way in bringing some degree of sanity to the system. Also, it is going to make African leagues more competitive and attractive because club owners cannot easily influence the outcome of matches at will anymore.
What is your opinion regarding some of the controversies surrounding the interpretations by referees after watching video replays of ongoing matches?
Thank you for stopping by. sincerely @izge