SINGAPORE: Referees in the Singapore Premier League will get a little extra help in the upcoming season, with Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology making its entrance for the first time.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) recently got the green light from the world football governing body FIFA to use the technology, said FAS in a news release on Friday (Jan 27).
It had passed a final assessment by FIFA after an implementation process that started last February, during which visits by FIFA personnel and regular VAR training for local match officials were conducted.
When successfully implemented, Singapore will become the third country in the ASEAN Football Federation and the 11th in Asia to use VAR in its local professional league, said FAS on its website.
FAS director of referees Nazeer Hussain said: "The VAR system is increasingly becoming a staple feature in football since its introduction and we are pleased to have this piloted for the SPL, which will undoubtedly help enhance and elevate the levels of officiating here.
"I am confident that this is a positive development for Singapore football," he added.
The 28th edition of the SPL will kick off on Feb 19 with the SPL Community Shield showdown between reigning champions Albirex Niigata and Singapore Cup holders Hougang United.
BRUNEI DPMM RETURNS
This season will also see the return of Brunei DPMM, which have been unable to participate since their mid-season withdrawal in October 2020 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, said FAS.
With their involvement, there will be a total of nine clubs competing in the 2023 season.
However, Brunei DPMM will play their first three home matches at the Jalan Besar Stadium instead of in Bandar Seri Begawan, as their home stadium is currently being renovated.
In other updates, FAS also said that the upcoming season will revert to a triple round-robin format from last season's quadruple one. Each team will play 24 league matches -12 home and 12 away.