The Volleyball Federation of Cambodia (VFC) has purchased Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology, and will employ it at May’s 32nd SEA Games.

Aing Serey Piseth, secretary-general of the VFC, said the federation – which is headed by National Police Chief Neth Savoeun and Sar Sokha, secretary of state for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports – introduced VAR equipment as part of reforms which aim to improve the accuracy of the scoring system ahead of major competitions.

“I believe we are only the fourth country in the ASEAN region to utilise this new technology,” he added.

“The federations from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines have their own VAR systems. Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam all rented the equipment from Thailand when they previously hosted the games. Now that we have a system of our own, we will be able to improve our national tournaments possibly work abroad,” he continued.

Serey Piseth discussed the purchase at the January 28 finals of the Anchor Slamball tournament.

The competition was sponsored by a local beverage company and featured eight teams. The first matches were played on November 5, 2022.

Kampong Speu’s Pong Rul defeated Phnom Penh’s Trei Chhlang club 3-2 in the final to become the first champions of the new comp. They also collected prize money of 20 million riel, with 12 million going to the second placed side. Dom Rey, of Siem Reap, claimed 6 million for their third place finish in the tournament.

“This event has contributed to the development of volleyball in Cambodia and I hope that the private sector – especially Anchor – continue to support events like this one,” said Piseth.

The federation has recently invested heavily in the training of match officials. Besides learning to use the VAR system, they are studying the management of the Volleyball Information System and an E-Scoresheet Computer Program.

“In the past, there was a lot of pressure on referees. Sometimes they made mistakes or the players would not accept a decision. With the new technology, there will be fewer arguments,” added Piseth.

“The referees who judged the Slamball event are from the federation and are well-trained and experienced. Even so, if they were inaccurate they could be fined or have their referees license suspended,” he continued.

The federation insists that all teams in the Kingdom register with it. Failure to register means teams will not be eligible to enter sanctioned competitions.

“Teams or clubs that are not registered with the federation are not allowed to compete for major trophies. More than 30 clubs have registered with us, so it is clear that the message is getting through,” he concluded.