Kazakhstan Football Federation selects Slomo.tv for world first trial of VAR Light

Developed by FIFA to enable the easier and faster implementation of VAR technology, VAR Light is designed to make the technology more accessible to all leagues and federations by lowering the entry barrier in case of limited resources. To achieve this, a VAR Light Trials programme was opened in spring 2021 offering football federations interested in adopting the technology the opportunity to participate in tests of VAR Light-compliant solutions.

The Kazakhstan Football Federation was one of the first to apply and, together with VAR technology provider Slomo.tv, successfully completed trials of the VAR Light system.

“This is a very significant and important step for the federation and the football leagues of Kazakhstan and we are pleased that the process has successfully started. When choosing a system provider, we considered the ability to offer a VAR Light solution that is not only as good as the ‘big’ VAR systems, but also able to cover our needs at a reasonable cost. Independence from the TV broadcaster was also an important criteria,” said Oleg Kungurov, technical director at the Professional Football League of Kazakhstan.

VAR Light Trials aim to test the viability of VAR Light technology in terms of both the equipment and the challenges of training personnel, such as VARs, AVARs and replay operators.

The first training stage for referees consisted of online lectures by Farkhad Abdullaev, FIFA VAR instructor. In early July, the referees moved from theory to practice – work with the video-refereeing system itself. In Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, a specialised training centre was organised to run an intensive course, which included parallel training of 72 referees and their assistants, as well as replay operators.

Slomo.tv provided the videoReferee-8F video-refereeing server, to work with eight cameras and the Academy system. Academy is a technology developed by Slomo.tv that enables the use of a specially prepared library of clips with controversial moments to emulate live signals from cameras. Together with the videoReferee server, it immerses trainees in a working process that is as close to the actual workflow as possible.

Parallel to the training on the Academy simulator and consolidation of the theoretical material, the referees completed Short Stage Matches – training matches with the VAR system. The participants practiced interaction between the VAR team and referees in the field, identification and analysis of controversial moments, concentration, stress management and the preparation of video material for review.

“This is not only the world’s first large-scale trial of VAR Light, but also a series of important experiments that allowed us to work with the federation to develop the best camera positioning for arenas with different geometries as well as to test the quality and accuracy of the video refereeing on the VAR Light-compliant system. The tests have shown that the system fully meets the challenges of the VAR,” said Igor Vitiorets, CTO at Slomo.tv.

By mid-July, the intensive training phase and Short Stage Matches were successfully completed. However, referees will receive regular theoretical and practical training; the testing of the system will also continue.

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