Malaysia Super League set to implement VAR from next season

Fox in the box – Nenad Krsticic

Malaysian football looks set to join the 21st century with news that video assistant referee (VAR) technology could be implemented in the domestic league from next season.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) said it will use VAR technology for the semifinals and final of this year’s Malaysia Cup and plans to implement if for the 2018 Malaysia Super League season if the trial is successful.

FAM Secretary General Hamidin Amin said, “The test is important before we fully implement the VAR in the M-League next year.”

The move comes after the new head of the FAM, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (TMJ) said last week that they planned to hold a trial and train match officials in the use of VAR.

TMJ said that implementing the technology would cost around RM 10 million (US$2.25 million).

He has reportedly identified around 20 of Malaysia’s best referees for training as elite, full-time officials in a bid to raise the standard of officiating.

Consultants from English company Hawk Eye Innovation were in Johor Bahru on Tuesday to introduce the VAR technology to a group of Malaysian league officials and referee reviewers.

FAM referees committee chairman Sukhbidin Salleh said after the session that, “The referees will still make the first decision in a match. VAR can only help if the official commits a big mistake or an evident one.”

“VAR can review an offside decision, a penalty decision, a mistaken sending off and issuing a card to the wrong player. However, the decision to review can only be made by the referee. If the player asks for an incident review, he will get a yellow card.”

VAR technology made it’s debut in a friendly match between France and Spain last month during which it was used to make two important decisions concerning goals.

Antoine Griezmann’s first-half header was ruled out for offside after reviewing a replay, while Gerard Deulofeu’s goal was later allowed to stand after review after initially being flagged for offside.

Spain won the game 2-0.