AFC readies for Champions League restart and debut of VAR from quarter final stage

August 24 –  The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) is expanding the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, bringing it in from the Quarter-final stage of the 2020 AFC Champions League.

It is the first time that VAR will be used in the AFC’s Club Competitions. The AFC debuted VAR at the Quarter-final stage of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 in the United Arab Emirates and subsequently used it across 32 matches at the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 in January.

As part of the VAR implementation the AFC will run a virtual AFC VAR Information Officer (VIO) Workshop 2020 on August 26 to ensure VIOs are updated on the latest VAR developments.

The AFC Champions League is scheduled to restart its West and East zone group games at centralised venues in September in Qatar and October in Malaysia.

The AFC has rejigged the logistics, but largely maintained the format of its flagship club competition that was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Qatar will also host the Round of 16 which will see teams from both groups battle on for last 16 play-offs to be played September 26, quarter finals on September 30 (when VAR will be introduced) with East zone semi-final scheduled for October 3. In the knockout stages, all matches will be played as single match ties as opposed to the usual home and away format.

The West Zone quarter finals and semi-final will be played later on November 25 and 28.

The AFC has planned the competition’s final for December 5, when the two semi-final winning teams from each region will meet. The winner will qualify for FIFA’s Club World Cup.

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