Referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez uses VAR during a La Liga match between Barcelona and Real Madrid last month. Photo: Joan Monfort/AP

LONDON – Video review is set to debut in the English Premier League next season.

The competition has held off introducing video assistant referees (VAR), even as it has been used in other top leagues, including Spain, and by Fifa at the World Cup.

The Premier League’s 20 clubs decided to introduce VAR at a meeting on Thursday, pending approval from soccer’s lawmakers.

Earlier Thursday, Asian Cup organisers said VAR would be used at the January 5-February 1 tournament, starting in the quarter-finals.

Referees will be able to assess replays in seven games in Dubai, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi.

The system allows referees to review video footage of key decisions such as the awarding of goals, penalties and red cards during matches.

It was used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but with mixed results.

VAR is already in use across the majority of Europe’s major leagues including La Liga, the Bundesliga and Serie A.

Referee Matt Conger from New Zealand uses VAR at the World Cup during the match between Nigeria and Iceland. Photo: Themba Hadebe/AP

“The decision to include VAR was only made on September 26, and that has meant a tremendous amount of work has been required to ensure that it can play a role at the tournament from the quarter-final stages,” Windsor John, the AFC general-secretary, said in a statement.

The bigger 2019 Asian Cup will feature a record 24 teams from all corners of Asia, up from 16 that participated in the previous four editions.

The 2019 tournament will be the second time the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has hosted the event, after successfully staging the finals in 1996.

AP, AFP