Egyptian Football Association (EFA) chairman Amr El-Gnainy has revealed that the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will be applied starting Thursday, declaring that the EFA will use the same company managing the La Liga and Serie A VAR technology.
"I'm very proud of what we have achieved with regards to applying the VAR in the Egyptian Premier League. It is a historical achievement," El-Gnainy said in a press conference held on Thursday.
The EFA announced on Wednesday that the first game to use the VAR technology will be on Thursday between Talae El-Gaish and Enppi in the 19th round of the domestic league, with referee Mohamed El-Sabahi serving as the VAR official. This will be the first time ever the VAR is used in Egypt with FIFA's accreditation.
El-Gnainy took charge of the EFA in August as the head of the Normalization Committee assigned by FIFA, after the board members resigned following the Egyptian national team’s failure in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The head of the EFA's Normalization Committee was criticized in the last few weeks after the federation imposed penalties against both Cairo giants Ahly and Zamalek over clashes during the Egypt Super Cup after the end of the game held in UAE.
"The EFA will apply the rules on all sides. There will be no considerations of personal interest,” said the former Zamalek board member, adding that “the VAR technology wasn't among FIFA's recommendations to enhance the Egyptian Football standards. It was an additional challenge to the board members and we succeeded in a very short period.”
"We have definitely refused the idea of clubs sharing the costs of the technology, and we decided that the EFA should completely cover all the expenses. I'm very proud of this great achievement by the current board," he added.
The EFA board members saw that it would be impossible to use the VAR starting from the second half of the Egyptian Premier League, according to El-Gnainy, before the Minister of Sports and Youth Ashraf Sobhi gave the association green light last January.
El-Gnainy revealed that the contract with Mediapro company, which is implementing the technology, will last for three-and-a-half years.
"The agreement with Mediapro states that we will own the technology by the end of the contract, which obliges the company to apply the best technologies in the world every year.
"Our VAR systems will be the same as that used in major leagues such as the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League. We are cooperating with EFA sponsor Presentation," he explained.
The EFA chairman stressed that many Egyptian referees have obtained the VAR permit from FIFA, and that 11 stadiums have been submitted officially to use the technology with attempts to add five more stadiums.
"The project began with referee trainings at Cairo International Stadium, and the FIFA approved on 3 March, then we started to implement the VAR officially on 5 March," he added.
Egypt will be the second country to apply the VAR in the domestic football competitions after Morocco, which implemented the technology last November.