SINGAPORE, 2023, FEBRUARY 13 – Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is a technology used in football to assist referees in making decisions. It is designed to correct clear and obvious errors or missed incidents in specific match-changing situations, such as goals, penalty decisions, red cards, and mistaken identity. A team of assistant referees reviews video footage from multiple angles to identify any potential errors or missed incidents, and if a review is recommended, the on-field referee can then view the footage and make a final decision. The use of VAR is aimed at increasing the accuracy and fairness of football matches.

Singapore Premier League (SPL) will implement the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology in the upcoming 2023 season. The technology will be used for the first time, starting with the Community Shield match between Albirex Niigata FC (Singapore) and Hougang United FC on Sunday, 19 February 2023.

During the media VAR workshop on Monday, it was explained that the purpose of implementing VAR is to ensure major decisions are correct and reflect accurate results. It was emphasised that these decisions can impact the livelihoods of players, coaches, and staff, which is why the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) decided to introduce VAR in Singapore.

The implementation of VAR in Singapore will be supported by the FIFA Forward programme, which will provide up to 90% of the infrastructure costs. For this season, seven cameras will be installed in all five SPL stadiums, exceeding FIFA‘s minimum requirement of four. A team of three, consisting of a Replay Operator, Video Assistant Referee, and Assistant Video Assistant Referee, will be responsible for alerting the match referee to reviewable incidents.

Each SPL game will have four officials at the match venue, with the VAR team located in the Jalan Besar Stadium‘s video operating rooms. ‘LIVE’ broadcast and communication will be transmitted from the match venue to the VAR team.

Football fans should keep their expectations in check regarding VAR as there may be some issues along the way. As with any technology, there may be hiccups, but the authorities are ready to address them as it is still a work in progress.

If VAR experiences technical difficulties, team captains and coaches will be informed, and the match will proceed without VAR.

The FAS will be guided by FIFA for the next three seasons before obtaining their final approval, and then be able to operate VAR independently from the 2026 season.

There are plans to introduce the Virtual Offside Line in the near future – a separate technology that presents a clear image featuring virtual lines for precise offside decisions.

Goal Line Technology and Semi-Automated Offside (SAO) are not part of the plans for implementation in Singapore.


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