International experts called in

Iraqi soccer association launches VAR course for match officials

BAGHDAD — The Iraq Football Association on Tuesday launched a training course for 36 soccer referees and operators to improve their use of Video Assistant Referee technology, featuring international experts leading lectures and case studies.

Video Assistant Referee technology, commonly known as VAR, is used in soccer to assist referees in decision-making. VAR reviews decisions made by the head referee with video footage and advises on scenarios involving goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents, and mistaken identity, aiming to reduce human errors that can significantly impact the outcome of matches. Though it is not without controversy, with detractors saying it interrupts the flow of the game and still retains the element of human error.

The course, aimed at ensuring fair and safe match officiating, was attended by Ghalib Al-Zamili, a member of the Iraq Football Association, along with Dr. Mohammed Kazem Arab, deputy head of the referees committee; Ali Sabah, referees department director; and Ali Karim, VAR technology officer. It includes 23 referees and 13 operators.

Al-Zamili emphasized the commitment to enhancing the referees’ capabilities. “We are organizing development courses in VAR technology with the presence of international lecturers to increase our referees’ expertise,” he said. “I urge all participants to make the most of these lectures, focusing on precision and accuracy in their application, and I wish them success in their refereeing careers.”

Dr. Arab thanked the association for its support and encouraged participants to benefit from the lectures delivered by international experts Ali Al-Tarifi, Ismail Al-Hafi, Al-Baqa’i, and Najah Rahm, which will help them understand when VAR intervention is necessary and ensure successful collaboration among referees during matches.

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