VAR to make debut in AFC Champions League, to be used from this year’s quarter-final stage

VAR will make its debut in Asia’s Champions League next month, officials said Monday, as the competition gears up to restart following a six-month coronavirus hiatus.

Video assistant referees have been introduced in competitions worldwide from the Premier League to the 2018 World Cup, but their decisions have often sparked controversy.

The technology will be used from the quarter-final stage of this year’s Champions League, the top Asian club competition, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said in a statement.

The quarter-finals for West Zone teams take place on 30 September and for East Zone sides on 25 November, with a single-leg final on 5 December.

The AFC said the decision showed its “commitment to ensure Asian refereeing continues to set new benchmarks”.

VAR was used in Asian football for the first time in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Asian Cup.

The Champions League, featuring 32 teams stretching from Saudi Arabia in the west to Japan in the East, was suspended in March due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions but is scheduled to restart next month.

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