FAM to put VAR on hold until 2019

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Photo: FAM

One of Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim’s promise as the newly-appointed president of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) is meliorate the quality of refereeing in the M-League.

After a few controversial verdicts on the pitch and an uproar from fans, Tunku Ismail called for a meeting to deliberate the possible implementation of the VAR (video assistant referees) system in Malaysia.

The VAR is basically a video referee. A match official is in charge of constantly reviewing the match footage, and will alert the referee on the field if the VAR feels that an error has been made in judgement.

FIFA president has confirmed that the VAR will be used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia after a number of successful trials were conducted.

However, Malaysia will not be following in the footsteps of FIFA. Instead, FAM will take the same route as the English Premier League, who are still sceptical about the implementation of VAR until they conduct more trials.

The EPL will only consider giving green light to VAR in 2018, while in Malaysia, it could take until 2019.

After carefully assessing every aspect of the VAR program and attending the ‘VAR Workshop 4’ under the International Football Association Board (IFAB), FAM’s Chairman of Referees Committee Subkhiddin Hj Mohd Salleh has decided that it is best to postpone the implementation of VAR in Malaysia.

According to Subkhiddin, the VAR is still in its experimental period. While many member countries have implemented the VAR, they are mostly operating at the testing stage and reporting back to IFAB for further improvements.

The chairman also noted it’s best to wait until the 2018 World Cup in Russia and study the outcome of using the VAR. FAM will then proceed to consider implementing the VAR in the M-League after studying reports from the FIFA technical team.

Apart from that, the chairman said that it is best for FAM to wait until the VAR is officially etched and explained in the “Laws of the Game 2018/2019”, before making any concrete decision.

As of now, the VAR is still considered a project that is not ready to be implemented in Malaysia.