A new chapter in African football was opened on Wednesday evening when the Additional Assistant Referees (AAR) was used in the semi-final matches of the Total U17 Africa Cup of Nations Tanzania 2019.

The AAR, which has been approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), will be a key addition to refereeing in African football and will help in making better decisions.

“The law has been around since 2012 but it was yet to be implemented by CAF. We decided to use it this time and we are ready for it,” said CAF Assistant Refereeing Manager Mamadou Haidarahe who spoke to

“The main reason for the introduction of this system is to help referees in decision making especially in the penalty area. This will allow the other two assistant referees to concentrate on offside and other fouls.”

This latest addition will increase the number of game officials in a single match to six, right from the usual four, and will see the additional referees positioned behind each goal to closely monitor incidents within the penalty area.

The AAR is the equivalent of VAR that has been used in different competitions and will be used in other African tournaments going forward. 

U17 AFCON - Additional Assistant Referees debuts at semis