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There was an announcement thag was made by the South African football body which will bring smiles to football lovers. This was after it was made known that FIFA gave the green light to SAFA to revolutionizing South African Football as it approved the VAR system which will go along way towards transforming the world’s most beautiful game.

In a groundbreaking development for South African football, the South African Football Association (SAFA) has received the green light from FIFA to introduce the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system. This announcement comes in response to a series of contentious match officiating decisions that have marred the opening rounds of the 2023/24 DStv Premiership season.

SAFA’s Vice-President, Linda Zwane, spoke exclusively to SABC Sport on Friday, emphasizing the urgent need for VAR in South African football. “It comes closer to the space of the VAR because, should we have VAR in those games, those referees were going to be assisted, so the digital era dictates that we have to move with speed around the issue of VAR,” said Zwane.

The decision to implement VAR is not a hasty one. SAFA has been diligently working on this project and has reached an advanced stage. The next steps involve budgeting, administrative preparations, and most critically, training for match officials. Presently, only three officials in South Africa are VAR-trained: Akhona Makhalima, Zakhele Siwela, and Abongile Tom.

“One of the things that needs to be taken into account is that if everything is now fine, it will not be as if we are now going to start immediately,” warned Zwane. “We have to train our referees and make sure that all systems are in place then we can implement VAR. But I think all the mistakes we have seen, it’s a call for VAR to be implemented in the country.”

VAR, or Video Assistant Referee, is a system that uses video footage to help match officials make critical decisions during a game. It has been instrumental in top leagues worldwide, helping to reduce errors and provide more accurate outcomes. Its introduction in South Africa promises to bring a new level of fairness and accuracy to the game.

 

However, implementing VAR is not without its challenges. It requires significant financial investment, and meticulous planning to ensure a seamless integration into the league. Zwane stressed the importance of budgeting to cover all necessary angles, ensuring a smooth rollout.

The decision to introduce VAR reflects the commitment of SAFA to the development of football in South Africa. It aims to improve the quality of officiating and enhance the overall fan experience. The move also aligns with FIFA’s efforts to promote fair play and the use of technology in football.

As South African football enthusiasts eagerly await the implementation of VAR, it’s evident that this step will not only elevate the sport but also contribute to its growth and global competitiveness. While the road ahead may be challenging, the prospect of more accurate refereeing decisions and reduced controversy is undoubtedly a win for South African football.