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Santosh Trophy: Punjab, Services first domestic teams to play with VAR made available

Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), March 4 (IANS) The All India Football Federation (AIFF) finally managed to make available the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology for the matches on the final day of the 76th National Football Championships for the Santosh Trophy, here on Saturday.

Punjab and Services became the first Indian teams to play a match with VAR available. It is available for the final between Karnataka and Meghalaya too.

The AIFF had planned to use the technology for the semifinals, but could not do so because of some technical reasons. It seems that Saudi Arabia Football Federation officials could not accommodate their late decision to use the VAR system available in the system.

On Saturday, the third-place match between former champions Punjab and Services became the first domestic match to have VAR available for it though the referee did not consider it necessary to use VAR for any decision.

Though VAR has been used in India for last year’s Women’s Asian Cup from the quarterfinals onwards, as it was for the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, which too was held last year. However, no Indian team played with VAR as the teams could not qualify for the knockout stage.

VAR is currently not in use in the country’s top two-tier professional leagues — the Indian Super League (ISL) and the I-League. It has been used in India during the FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup in 2022 from the start and from the quarterfinals onwards in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

The VAR is a video match official who will review incidents like a goal (whether the ball has crossed the goal line or not), awarding of a penalty, offsides and fouls. As per the current approval of FIFA, if the VAR feels there is a clear error made by the on-field match referee, he/she can recommend an on-field review. However, the final decision still rests with the match referee.



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