The upcoming Under-17 Women's World Cup in India will see the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology making its debut in the age-group showpiece, world football governing body FIFA announced on Tuesday.
The prestigious tournament, which was given the go-ahead by FIFA after lifting the 11-day-long suspension on All India Football Federation (AIFF), will be held in Bhubaneswar (Kalinga Stadium), Margao (J. L. N. Stadium) and Navi Mumbai (D. Y. Patil Stadium) from October 11-30.
“The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will give us important and significant insights into the qualities of the match officials who have been appointed. We are very happy that, also for the first time, VAR technology will be used at a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup," said FIFA’s Head of Women Refereeing Kari Seitz.
"This event will be another great opportunity to showcase the skills of the appointed VARs and continue the development of our female VARs as part of the Road to Australia/New Zealand 2023 project,” she said in a FIFA statement.
How VAR works
The VAR technology supports the decision-making process of the referee in four game-changing situations: goals and offences leading up to a goal, penalty decisions and offences leading up to a penalty, direct red card incidents, and mistaken identity.
Throughout a match, the VAR team constantly checks for clear and obvious errors related to these four match-changing situations. The VAR team communicates with the referee only for clear and obvious mistakes or serious missed incidents.
The U-17 Women’s World Cup in India will be the third FIFA women’s tournament to utilise VAR following the U-20 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2022 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.
This will be the second time the VAR technology will be used in India, the first one being from the quarterfinal stage of the AFC Women's Asian Cup the country hosted in January-February this year.
Referees and match officials announced
The FIFA Referees Committee also announced match officials for the tournament comprising 14 women referees, 28 women assistant referees, three support referees and 16 video match officials.
“We are delighted that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is returning after a four-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are really looking forward to this important competition in India taking place in October," said the chairman of the FIFA’s Referees Committee Pierluigi Collina.
"For the match officials, of course, it’s another big stage in the preparation of the potential candidates for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023."
No referee from India
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will be represented by 14 referees, assistant referees and video match officials from seven member associations. There is no one from India.
Pansa Chaisanit of Thailand, Edita Mirabidova of Uzbekistan and Oh Hyeon Jeong of Korea have been selected as referees, marking their first appointments in a FIFA tournament, as the main referees.
They will be joined by assistant referees Supawan Hinthong and Nuannid Donjiangreed of Thailand, Joanna Charaktis of Australia, Kristina Sereda of Uzbekistan and Chinese duo Fang Yan and Xie Lijun.
In addition, five video match officials — Omar Mohamed Al Ali from the United Arab Emirates, Hanna Hattab from Syria, Sivakorn Pu-Udom from Thailand and Australia’s Lara Lee and Casey Reibelt — will assist from the VAR room.