Video assistant referees to be introduced in Malaysia Super League in 2018

The Malaysian FA will also hire full-time, professional referees for MSL matches beginning in 2018.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

The Malaysian FA (FAM) has revealed that it will introduce the use of video assistant referees (VAR) in the Malaysia Super League in 2018.

FAM will also begin hiring professional fulltime referees in the same year, the association announced following a briefing on Tuesday in Johor Bahru.

"In a session held this afternoon, the president (Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim) has agreed to the use of professional referees and VAR, and we will begin the pilot project in the semifinals and the final match of the Malaysia Cup this season.

"The use of professionals referee will also begin next year. But the preparations will begin from now on, and the FAM Referees Committee has already identified 15 to 20 elite referees who will be offered posts as professional referees.

"The president has agreed to the amount of monthly salaries to be paid to these professional referees," said FAM secretary-general Dato' Hamidin Amin.

The implementation of VAR was also detailed by the FAM Referees Committee chairman and Malaysia's most renowned football referee; Subkhiddin Salleh.

"The referee will still have to make the decisions in the matches. VAR only helps if he makes a big mistake or one that is obvious. The work of a referee will not change, but if things go wrong, VAR will be able to help correct the mistaken decision.

"VAR can only be used to review four matters. First, situations involving a goal that is erroneously-awarded, when it was offside or a handball has taken place. Second, penalty-box situations whether a penalty should be awarded or otherwise.

"Third, when rectifying sending offs, to see whether it should be a yellow card or vice versa. And fourth, errors in identifying players when giving yellow cards or the red card, which can be corrected.

"However, a VAR review can only be requested by the referee. If the players demand a review, he would be booked," said Subkhiddin.

The VAR has been tested in several top club and international-level matches this year, with the most recent being the international friendly between France and Spain last month.

In the match that ended in a 2-0 win to Spain, VAR was used to review to goal-scoring situations.


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