VAR in the PSL: Madlala explains why it has been a challenge

It has been a while since the idea to use technology in improving officiating in the South African top flight was mooted

Acting Premier Soccer League CEO Mato Madlala says the fact that most clubs do not own stadiums has been a major stumbling block regarding the introduction of video assistant referees. 

Glaring errors made by some match officials last season have heightened the need to have VAR being used in the PSL.  

The mistakes saw revered referees Jelly Chavani and Luxoilo Badi as well as assistant referee Andile Mncwango being suspended. 

But Madlala says issues preventing the introduction of VAR are infrastructure-related. 

“We don’t own the stadia, there is no soccer ground that has been given to AmaZulu FC or Royal AM, to own it,” Madlala told Far Post

“There is a project from Fifa that allows for movable VAR cameras, so we are still monitoring. As the technology is improving, maybe we might end up having that programme, but it won’t be fixed on any stadium.

“That would be great for us in South Africa, because we don’t have our own venues.” 

Madlala also ruled out the possibility of the PSL finding another sponsor to replace the Telkom Knockout Challenge, citing the coronavirus pandemic. 

Last season saw PSL competitions being reduced to just three after Telkom pulled out of sponsoring their knockout competition consisting of only top-flight league teams. 

“Journalists are the ones who always write about our teams competing in Africa, who don’t have enough time to prepare for their matches outside of the country,” continued Madlala. 

“Even if we want money, there are possibilities, but during these Covid-19 times, it will be impossible to do everything and give our teams a chance to compete in the continent. 

“It has been said that we congest their fixtures and we don’t allow them to compete, again you are asking me about another sponsor.  

“It’s very tight during this Covid-19 pandemic, when they [SA teams] leave here they need to get tested and again they get tested wherever they go, before they play.  

“At the same time there are airlines that are sometimes not working, which puts more pressure on the travelling logistics, like a team going to Egypt has to go via Ethiopia and sometimes they spend 24 hours waiting for a connection.

“So all these things impact on the fixtures, it becomes impossible to get another competition.”

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