VAR in the NPFL – Here’s what we know

VAR in the NPFL – Here’s what we know
Credit: Icon Sport

There is an interesting NPFL news on the possibility of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) being used in some selected stadiums during the 2023/24 Nigeria Professional Football League season.

The league is set to begin on September 9th with week one fixtures already released. Fans, pundits and every stakeholder involved in the league are gearing up for the new season.

The NPFL having strategic partners has aided improvements in live streaming of the majority of the league games using AI cameras, and this has drawn another possibility, the use of VAR.

Earlier this year, Nigeria Football Federation president, Ibrahim Gusau, announced that VAR equipment will be installed in several regional stadiums around the country during the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) election convention in April, which resulted in Sanni Zubair becoming NRA’s president.

Ahead of the new NPFL campaign, Sanni Zubair revealed that plans to introduce VAR are in progress and should be implemented before the end of the season.

The president highlighted that the implementation of VAR will improve referee performance even more now that the majority of league matches will be televised with newly acquired AI cameras.

“There are talks around it. We thought we would have gotten it this time around, but maybe before the start of the league or when the league is on. I know they are working towards it, and we are aware of that, and since we are going to be having our matches streamed live.” Zubair said.

“Football is now being played with technology, and we must move with the pace of the world as well. If the NFF provides VARs in some centers, it will help the performance of our referees as well,”

“On our own, according to our plans, we will ensure the adequate training of our referees to meet up with the best global practices.”

What introduction of VAR will mean for Nigerian football

We have seen the positives that VAR has brought into the game of football in the big leagues around the world.

We'll also remind ourselves that the system has flaws but then, the positives outweigh the negatives.

With this in mind, the NPFL will certainly improve with VAR being used and everyone involved making sure it works effectively.

As time progresses with good results obtained from the trial centres, every other stadium in the league can look towards using VAR during matches.

This will enable good officiating and acceptance by fans to go to stadiums and watch away matches without feeling hard done by referees as the case has been in previous seasons.

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

Joseph is a graduate engineer turned sports writer, he has covered lots of sports stories, match previews and predictions across various leagues on the planet.