Football: Asia brings in extra refs for goal-mouth incidents, in wake of Japan-UAE fiasco

Japan's Keisuke Honda heads the ball to score a goal against the UAE during their World Cup 2018 qualifier match in Saitama, Japan on Sept 1, 2016.
Japan's Keisuke Honda heads the ball to score a goal against the UAE during their World Cup 2018 qualifier match in Saitama, Japan on Sept 1, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Asia's football body said on Thursday that it would use extra referees to help stamp out goal-mouth controversies in its top competitions, falling into line with Europe.

The additional assistant referees will patrol each goal area, helping out with the goal line, penalty and offside decisions that can be critical to a game's outcome.

They will be used from the quarter-finals of next year's AFC Champions League and AFC Cup, and also at the national-level Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2019.

An Asian Football Confederation statement said the assistants would "give referees additional support when a decision has to be taken around the penalty area, to help make decisions on the goal line and assist in making offside decisions".

It follows a steady flow of incidents, including Japan's disallowed goal in this month's 1-2 World Cup qualifying loss to the United Arab Emirates, when the ball clearly crossed the line.

Competitions organised by European body Uefa already have extra referees watching the goal, and World Cups and European Championships also employ goal-line technology.

The AFC's referees committee, meeting in Goa, also recommended introducing referee coaches for officials dealing with the ongoing 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

The coaches "will act as mentors to younger referees. This is in line with the AFC's vision and mission to be the leading confederation", a statement said.