KUALA LUMPUR: As Asian club football prepares to enter a new era, the Asian Football Confederation has reaffirmed a determination to maintain the highest officiating standards with the implementation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system across its revamped three-tier club structure as well as the inaugural AFC Women’s Champions League™ for the 2024-25.

Befitting the status of the newly introduced AFC Champions League Elite™, which will see the Continent’s top 24 teams battle for glory, the tournament will implement VAR from the League Stage, which kicks off this September.

The inaugural edition of the landmark AFC Women’s Champions League™, which kicks off in October, will see the VAR system made available in the Semi-finals and Final, underscoring the Confederation’s commitment to supporting and developing women’s football on the Continent.

Meanwhile, VAR support for match officials in the AFC Champions League Two™ will be available from the Knockout Stage onwards. The competition, comprising 32 teams, is set to commence in September.

For the AFC Challenge League™, which will feature 20 teams, the technology will come into play in the all-important Final in May 2025.

As part of efforts to keep the Confederation’s match officials up to date and well acquainted with the latest technological advancements in refereeing, the Confederation conducted the AFC Video Assistant Referees (VAR) Course in 2023.

Moreover, an AFC VAR Information Officer (VIO) Workshop is also slated to take place in the upcoming months to ensure the VIOs from the various AFC Member Associations are kept abreast of the latest developments in VAR technology.

Earlier this year, the AFC implemented the VAR system across all matches at the AFC Asian Cup™ for the first time, while also becoming the first Confederation to introduce the Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT) system at the Continental Men’s national team level, further emphasising its ambitions to remain a model Confederation and ensuring the success of its match officials on the biggest stages in world football.