CONCACAF has confirmed that Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be used in several of its 2021 competitions.
In the 2021 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, which begins this week with eight first leg Rounds of 16 matches, VAR will be used in the competition for the Semifinals and the Final. The two-legged Semifinals will feature the final four teams in the tournament and will be played between August 10th and August 26th. The single-leg Final will be played on October 28th, 2021.
CONCACAF has for the past two years been working towards introducing VAR in its competitions with several training and development opportunities for elite referees in our region. The process was delayed slightly due to COVID-19 related challenges, but last week the Confederation was able to enter the final stages of its planning to introduce the technology.
With the support of Fedefutbol – the Costa Rican Football Federation – CONCACAF was able to organize a VAR certification process in Costa Rica for 22 elite referees from across the region. This included 40 competitive matches played between March 31st and April 5th solely for the purposes of VAR training and development.
In the impressive surroundings of the Complejo Deportivo Fedefutbol Plycem Facility in Costa Rica, FIFA’s VAR Project Leader Mike Van Der Roest and FIFA VAR Greg Barkey instructed and completed the VAR certification for the 22 CONCACAF Referees from 15 Central American and Caribbean Federations.
With CONCACAF now having a large enough pool of VAR-qualified referees, the Confederation can confirm that in addition to being used for this year’s Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Semi-Finals and Final, the technology will be introduced to CONCACAF’s 2021 Men’s National team competitions. In a boost to what should be a fantastic summer of football, the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League Finals, scheduled for June 3rd and June 6th, and the 2021 Gold Cup, which will be played from July 2nd to August 1st, will both include VAR to support the on-field referees.