Indian Football

Kalyan Chaubey: We are coming up with VAR (Lite)


March 19 2023
Kalyan Chaubey AIFF Olympics Commonwealth Games Football U-23 level VAR Lite RoundGlass Punjab I-League champions AIFF Indian Women's Football League

There were plenty of refereeing errors in the Indian Super League that were concerning to see.

The 2022-23 season of the Indian Super League came to an end with ATK Mohun Bagan emerging as champions. It was an entertaining season but one with several refereeing errors that made headlines. Moving forward, that is likely to become a thing of the past with All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Kalyan Chaubey set to introduce a VAR (Lite) from next season onwards to assist the officials.

“For their VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system, Belgium has found a lighter version or a reasonable version of using the technology at a much lower cost,” Chaubey told TOI while suggesting that a similar technology can help the officials in Indian football.

The glaring refereeing errors

In accordance with several instances from the 2022-23 season of the ISL, the final too was not without controversy. Several high-profile figures and fans of Bengaluru FC questioned the penalty decision awarded to the Mariners which led to their second goal. There was also a penalty shout earlier in the game where Pritam Kotal seemingly kicked Roy Krishna but referee Harish Kundu did not deem it as a foul inside the box. Hence, the Blues community left the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa with a bitter taste in the mouth.

“We are coming up with VAR (Lite). I have seen a couple of matches, incidents (of errors) and the subsequent fan reactions. I have received many emails, and messages on social media. They want VAR to be implemented, or at least human error-free matches. We have employed referees to ensure their financial security, but at the end of the day, they’re human,” said Kalyan Chaubey.

Referees need support

It is true that the standard of refereeing needs to improve in the ISL. However, the current crop of officials will perform better with the support of VAR. Speaking in this context, Kalyan Chaubey said, “Refereeing is a thankless job. They can make errors, but we have to get them the support that others get globally. When the referee takes the field, he is the only individual wearing a jersey and not getting any support. The other two teams have a fan base. There are fans to cheer them, but nobody to support the referee.”

“As president of the federation, I am a supporter of referees and I want to be with them in their highs and lows. I can ensure that India will not fall short in terms of providing facilities. As they say, even if I have to beg, borrow or steal, I will ensure that Indian football gets at par facilities as the global standards,” he concluded.

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