On Friday night, the Hyundai A-League will become the first top-tier domestic football league in the world to introduce the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system.
It will be debuted for the first time at AAMI Park when Melbourne City host Adelaide United following more than a year of preparation and testing at all A-League venues.
This is a major milestone for football in Australia, which is something that FFA CEO David Gallop acknowledged.
“Australia is well known as a world leader in sport and this week we will become a world leader in football," Gallop said.
“Since the use of video technology was first mooted, FFA has been at the vanguard for the use of the system and we took on an audacious plan to ensure that we could produce a compliant system for the use in the Hyundai A-League as soon as possible.
“This weekend is the culmination of an enormous amount of hard work to ensure that the VAR system is ready to be used for live, competitive football matches. I want to thank our referees, the Hyundai A-League clubs and the players for their positive support for this measure.
“This event would not be possible without the backing of our broadcast partner Fox Sports and also our VAR technology partner, Hawk-Eye, who will both be providing the infrastructure for this innovative new system to be fully operational, and for that we are very grateful,” said Gallop.
The use of VAR system may be called on by the referee to provide assistance on four categories of match-changing decisions/incidents:
- Goal / no goal decisions
- Penalty / no penalty decisions
- Direct red cards (not 2nd yellow cards)
- Mistaken identity
The VAR is only used after the referee has made a decision or if a serious incident has gone unnoticed by match officials.
The Head of Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League, Greg O'Rourke, says that the VAR system will be beneficial to all stakeholders in the sport.
“Since the dawn of Association Football, there have been controversial decisions and that will continue.
“With the advent of broadcast technologies, referees have been the only individuals that have not been able to benefit from the use of video replay technology. That changes this week.
“The implementation of the VAR system will help eliminate incorrect key match-changing decisions.