It can be 2025-2026 season, but you never know: AIFF coy over VAR technology in ISL, I-League

Image Source : TWITTER/INDIANFOOTBALL M Satyanarayan and Shaji Prabhakaran at AIFF office on July 31, 2023

All India Football Federation (AIFF) remains years away from bringing the VAR technology to its domestic competitions. Indian Super League and second-tier I-League are yet to receive the game-changing technology despite fans and the football community continuing to raise their voice against the authorities.

The VAR has been part of all major football leagues around the globe and it has been a revolutionary step since its introduction in 2016-17. It helps umpires make a fair decision regarding goals, offences and offside calls with so many emotions connected to the game. However, the VAR installation is a costly process and the AIFF is already looking at other alternatives, ‘VAR Lite’. 

AIFF’s acting secretary general M Satyanarayan revealed the federation’s plans to bring the technology very soon but added that it will take a lot of time to get and implement the equipment.  

“There will be a big decision on the introduction of VAR very soon and we are doing a study on that,” M Satyanarayan told PTI in an interview. “Introducing it next season might be difficult for the simple reason that FIFA has to approve the technology, there is a process. More than just getting the equipment, training personnel takes a lot of time. It can be the 2025-2026 season, but you never know. Even if we start now (the process), it will take a minimum of 18 to 20 months (to complete it).” 

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic recently demanded the need for VAR in ISL. He was banned for 10 games after leading the team’s walkout against Bengaluru FC due to Sunil Chhetri’s infamous controversial free-kick goal last season. Vukomanovic also highlighted the VAR’s role in attracting foreign talent to Indian leagues.

“In the off-season, when we are trying to rope in some foreign players, the first thing they say you about the league is… ‘you don’t have VAR, I won’t come’. That’s the case,” Vukomanovic said on Oct 26.

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