Soccer / J. League

J. League may start using VAR in 2020

Kyodo

The J. League may speed up its introduction of video reviews for refereeing decisions in first-division games following a proposal at its board meeting on Tuesday.

The league had previously targeted 2021 for the debut of the video assistant referee in J1, but the suggestion to bring in the technology for the start of next season received support at the meeting in Tokyo.

The push follows a number of high-profile refereeing blunders at J. League games this season, including the failure to award Shonan Bellmare a clear-cut goal in their 3-2 win over the Urawa Reds at Saitama Stadium in May.

Before VAR can be introduced, J. League referees must be trained to use the technology in line with standards set by FIFA. The league is currently making preparations in cooperation with the Japan Football Association.

J. League chairman Mitsuru Murai voiced his support for a quicker introduction of the technology.

“If things go to plan, there is a possibility of introducing (VAR) in J1 from 2020,” Murai said.

The board also decided at the meeting to suspend play in all three J. League divisions during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The board is set to decide on a new schedule for the season in November.