Champions Stadium eyes VAR
Champions Stadium owner King Kabvina has unveiled plans to introduce video assistant referee (VAR) equipment at the facility.
Kabvina said he had initially planned to roll out the initiative during the launch of the K13 million Champions Cup at Mponela in Dowa District on Sunday but had shifted it due to delays in the arrival of the equipment from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“The equipment will be in the country on Saturday, so it will not be possible to use it on Sunday. But we have constructed a special room for the equipment and officials to operate it. What remains is installation,” he said.
Kabvina, who declined to state the value of the project, said the move was aimed at minimising conflicts that arise from referees’ decisions.
“We want to turn Champions Stadium into a modern football facility. We want it to have state-of-the-art equipment so that matches take place in a conducive environment.
“One way of achieving this is by introducing VAR. This will help in resolving all disputes arising from referees’ decisions,” he said.
National Referees Association General Secretary Chris Kalichero expressed ignorance about the initiative but said the country has Fifa assistant referee Clemence Kanduku who was trained in VAR operation.
“Kanduku was trained on how to use VAR about three months ago in Egypt. So when VAR comes to Malawi one day, you can be assured of the right personnel to use it. This is a facility that is used by referees and we will be ready when the time comes,” Kalichero said.
According to Fifa.com, VAR is a support tool for officials and has been implemented in over 100 competitions worldwide.
It supports referees’ decision-making process in four match-changing situations of goals and offences leading up to a goal, penalty decisions and offences leading up to a penalty decision, direct red card incidents only (not second yellow card/caution) and mistaken identity.
The VAR team comprises the video assistant referee and three assistant video assistant referees.