CAF stick with VAR for AFCON in Egypt but bring in Mediapro to manage

June 18 – After the shambles surrounding the use of VAR at CAF’s Champions League final the confederation has chosen Mediapro as the provider responsible for VAR at the African Cup of Nations that runs June 21 to July 19.

Mediapro will provide a training programme to CAF officials on a simulator and Offline VOR prior to the official VAR application.

The Spanish-based company is the official supplier of VAR for official league competitions in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Chile and the United Arab Emirates, and provides services to CAF and FIBA. It is also responsible for the video assistant referee technology for the Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana, Recopa and Copa América 2019. It has also been chosen to supply VAR services to the Greek Superliga.

CAF will not want a repetition of the scandal that surrounded the Champions League final. In the first leg between Morocco’s Wyded of Casablanca and Esperance de Tunis. Egyptian referee Gehad Grisha dished out four yellow cards in the opening 45 minutes, then twice went to VAR, first time to rule out a goal for the hosts due to a handball, then failing to award Wydad a penalty. Wydad complained bitterly and demanded Grisha was suspended Grisha for poor referring. CAF duly obliged but yesterday rescinded that decision after a panel decided Grisha had not made any mistakes.

In the second match the farce escalated with VAR being in the stadium but missing crucial technology to allow it to operate. In that match Wydad had a goal disallowed and walked off, with CAF eventually awarded the title to Esperance. But it didn’t end there and CAF at their Paris meetings two weeks ago ordered the second leg to be replayed, sparking more controversy and making a mockerty of their own clearly laid out rules.

The 2019 edition will be the first African Cup of Nations with 24 teams and VAR coming in  at the quarterfinals stage.

CAF will be desperate to avoid a repeat of the Champions League final. But they will also need to respect their own rules to achieve that.

See Osasu Obayiuwana: CAF’s Champions League blunder reflects deeply fractured leadership

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