Egypt introduces five-referee system in domestic football league

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Al Ahram

Egypt has started to implement a five-referee system in its domestic football league following mounting criticism over the performance of referees. The new system, officially known as Additional Assistant Referees (AAR), was used in Egyptian Premier League matches for the first time on Wednesday. The AAR sees an additional assistant referee placed behind each goal to help the referee rule on contentious decisions during the game.

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) tested the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology at its stadiums in the latter stages of last season following a blatant refereeing mistake in a league game between Zamalek and Maqassa. With Maqassa leading 1-0, Zamalek were denied a clear penalty when defender Ahmed Sami cleared a cross with a flailing arm. Amid furious post-match protests from Zamalek, referee Gehad Greisha acknowledged he had made a mistake after watching a video replay at home.

But FIFA eventually refused to grant the EFA permission to permanently use the VAR, saying that the technology used to test the new system was not up to the standards of the world governing body.