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Zimbabwean referees to get VAR training in 2024 ahead of World Cup

HARARE – Zimbabwean referees and match commissioners are set to receive training on the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology in 2024, as part of the preparations for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The Normalisation Committee Chairperson Lincoln Mutasa announced this on 3 November in Harare, during the commissioning of FIFA member association courses for referees and match commissioners.

VAR is a system that allows referees to review decisions made on the field using video footage and a headset for communication. It is intended to assist referees in making correct calls and reducing errors. VAR has been implemented in many major football leagues and tournaments around the world, including the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League, the English Premier League, and the Spanish La Liga.

However, Zimbabwe has not yet adopted VAR due to various challenges, such as the lack of adequate infrastructure, equipment, and funding. Zimbabwean football matches are currently not being televised on local TV, and the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) does not have the cameras or the vehicle to undertake VAR in matches. Moreover, the country’s stadia are not compliant with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards, and some of them have been banned from hosting international matches.
Mutasa said that the introduction of VAR training in Zimbabwe was a sign of progress and development in the local football scene. He urged the referees and match commissioners to take advantage of the opportunity and learn from the best in the world.

“We are very excited about this development. Next year they will bring that Video Assistant Referee (VAR) vehicle to train our referees. We don’t want you [referees] to be left behind as we go to the 2026 [FIFA] World Cup,” Mutasa said.

Zimbabwean referees to get VAR training in 2024 ahead of World Cup