Asian football will reach another historic milestone with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system making its full tournament debut at the upcoming AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020, which is scheduled to take place across three cities – Bangkok, Buriram and Songkhla – between January 8 to 26, 2020.
Having made its successful debut from the quarter-final stage of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 in January, the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 will be the first AFC competition to implement the VAR system in all 32 matches.
Adding greater significance to this year’s edition, 15 of the 16 teams will also be competing for places in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where the best three sides will join hosts Japan as Asia's representatives next July.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who experienced first-hand the VAR’s debut at the Video Operations Room in the UAE, said: “Asian football is already world-class and we are determined to ensure that we continue to remain a model Confederation in adopting the latest in technology and best practices across all areas of football development.
“We saw the incredible amount of work undertaken in preparation for the AFC Asian Cup in the UAE. It was a decision that showcased the AFC’s ambitions to continuously improve our competitions and the footballing world saw the undeniable success and quality of our match officials.
“I am confident that we will build on our success and the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 presents another opportunity to underline the remarkable standards of Asian refereeing.”
All match officials appointed to support the implementation of the VAR at the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 have been trained to the stringent standards and requirements put in place by the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
To guarantee the AFC can implement the established and approved guidelines by the IFAB, the AFC has organised six courses and seminars since March 2017, ensuring Asian match officials are able to implement the highest VAR standards and protocols.
The VAR system will be limited to four game-changing decisions or incidents which are - goal or no goal, penalty-kicks, red cards and mistaken identity decisions.