The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has approved the use of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) for its 2018 Champions League and Confederations Cup finals. CAF's Executive Committee met in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from 27 to 28 September 2018 and reached the decision to take one more step towards wider introduction of VAR in CAF club competitions.
This is not the first time that CAF will be using VAR in one of its competitions. In February 2018, VAR was used for the CAF Super Cup match between Wydad Casablanca and TP Mazembe in Casablanca, Morocco.
“This is a historic moment for African football. It clearly shows that CAF is determined and committed to the interclub competitions and will bring on board the latest and innovative technologies to make it better. “We (CAF) are the first confederation to use VAR in the final of the Club competitions. We did it for the CAF Super Cup and we are delighted to go a step further with the Interclubs competitions,” said Amr Fahmy, Secretary General at CAF.
If you've followed CAF's club competitions long enough you will know of the many controversial referee decisions that have plagued them over the years. This is over and above the hostility that is usually shown by the home team's fans and the typically bad hospitality buy some hosting teams. Thus, the decision to introduce VAR in the finals of its club competitions will at minimum, reduce the number of dubious refereeing decisions that some matches have witnessed given the high stakes. It however remains to be seen whether CAF will implement VAR for all club competition matches as this will require all the infrastructure to be in place at all stadia across the continent.
The decision also comes in the same period that Egypt's Football Association is looking to implement VAR for all Premier League matches following some disputed referee decisions involving top teams.
Cover image credit: Earlier in 2018, CAF match officials being trained on VAR. CAF