The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology will be used at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) from the quarter-final stage, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday.
In a press briefing just a day before the elite continental competition begins, CAF President Ahmad Ahmad said there was no rush to use the technology in all the games.
“It’s a measure of prudence. When you see the various countries that use VAR, they don’t rush into it from the start. It’s a technology that a lot of people don’t completely use yet,” Ahmad said in Cairo, on the eve of the opening match between hosts Egypt and Zimbabwe.
“It was planned for the semi-finals to start with, but we insisted that we have to go a little bit further. The executive committee decided on the quarter-finals so that it’s a success.”
— CAF (@CAF_Online) June 20, 2019
Football fans will be keen to see how CAF employs the technology in AFCON, considering the failure in the CAF Champions League final that pit Tunisian club Esperance and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.
Despite the presence of the VAR system in that game, match officials could not use it to make judgement on a disallowed Wydad goal. That failure angered the team, which in turn walked off and declined to continue the game.
AFCON 2019 begins tomorrow with a game pitting the host Egypt and Zimbabwe.
The tournament will be the first held in the June-July window in conformity with the international football calendar. Previous editions were held in January-February.
The tournament will also be the first that has 24 teams participating, an increase from the previous editions that had only 16 teams.