Tuesday Oct 04, 2022

Video Assistant Referee Debuts on AFC Women’s Asian Cup

Technological Innovation: Video Assistant Referees in the AFC


The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology was used for the first time in a soccer game in India during the quarterfinals of the ongoing AFC Women’s Asian Cup. Soccer news outlets announced ahead of time that the AFC Asian Cup would employ VAR in the knockout rounds. The quarterfinal encounter between Japan and Thailand, which resulted in a 7-0 triumph for the latter, became India’s first match to utilise the innovation.

The VAR was not required to make any notable judgments in the game played in Navi Mumbai. But the VAR became a crucial element in the match simultaneously held in Pune. Furthermore, South Korea’s victory over Australia was perhaps the biggest upset in the competition, with Korea winning 1-0 after halftime.

Furthermore, a VAR examination resulted in Korea being penalised during the first half. But Cho So-Hyun could not score from the spot, as she faced an injury coming out of the bedroom window while attempting suicide before defeating Japan 5-2 at home last week.

There was another big penalty check in the second half when Steph Catley appeared to be inside the box, but the VAR did not signal for a penalty this time. South Korea’s Ji So-Yun scored the game’s final goal in the 87th minute to send her team into the semi-finals. 

The usage of the VAR can continue to impact how events play out throughout the tournament as the league uses it more. At the Women’s Asian Cup, six video match officials received access to seven live camera feeds to monitor all of the live-action on the field. The VAR may evaluate four types of judgments: goal versus no-goal, penalty versus no-penalty, direct red card, and mistaken identity in determining whether to award a red or yellow card. The on-field referee and the VAR collaborate to reach these decisions. 

However, the decision is only reviewable by either of the two officials involved in the play, not by any player. The VAR official has the authority to request that an on-field referee reconsider his ruling. At the same time, the on-field referee may choose to conduct an on-field review (OFR), which is similar to a video review. The on-field referee has the ultimate decision and can always dismiss the VAR’s advice. 

The advent of VAR into the soccer world met fears and a great deal of criticism, which is still in discussion frequently. Despite fierce objections and considerable disdain, VAR is a significant change in modern professional soccer, as well as a moral revolution in the sport’s overall history.

This innovation, in theory, improves the professional standards and public image of the game and its moral code – Fair play. Furthermore, introducing this technology opens the door for other vulnerabilities (Standardisation for extra time, a clear definition of a handball offence and more). Professional soccer rules will most likely evolve to address these new deficiencies in the future due to this technology.

The traditional concept of “let the best athlete or team win” is a central ideal in sports competitions. That is to say, sports authorities should strive to minimise errors and fraud while determining the winner. That is why referees are there to ensure fair play. Their power in soccer and other sports can be enormous. At least two World Cup finals were influenced by controversial refereeing calls, as was at least one European-Cup final.

Although the integration of technology in sports, particularly technology designed to assist referee decision making, seems necessary in light of the possible errors, it appears that sports have taken on a double function relative to technology. On the other hand, the sports business is driving significant technological changes, undoubtedly in all media. 

Sports gets treated with the introduction of several technologies, including plasma screens and high-definition television broadcasts at home. On the other side, sports’ religious-like devotion and dedication to its communities and traditions illustrate conservative elements of the business while also restricting new technology adoption.

The new referee system has made a significant impact on soccer. In layman’s terms, it restores to referees the respect and accolades lost over time. The VAR approach enhances professional decision-making during a game and restores the importance of fairness and fair play in soccer. After years when fans saw many referee mistakes due to their incompetence.

Experts say that the VAR system promotes impartial and accurate decision-making from a professional standpoint. Even though the VAR system does not explain all potential sources of ambiguity, using technologies such as the VAR improves refereeing and overall game outcomes.

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