The need to streamline a system for instant VAR (Video Assistant Referee) incident review from Azerbaijan’s Premier League football stadia has resulted in German-based system integrators Broadcast Solutions establishing a bi-directional audio and visual data flow between a central hub and remote venue locations in the country. As a result AFFA (Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan) has now officially become FIFA VAR certified.

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To accomplish this they requisitioned a customised version of BroaMan’s popular Mux22 multiplexer, extending the capacity of a device, enabling it to transport all signals down a single duplex fibre cable, within the existing fibre infrastructure.

Broadcast Solutions won a competitive tender for the planning, designing and implementation of the VAR system, and have since worked reliably with AFFA (Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan).

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The VAR system comprised a two-part project, with a mobile VAR system incorporated in a 3.5t transporter, as well as three VOR (Video Operation Rooms) integrated into the offices of Baku’s Olympic Stadium—this serves as a central VAR hub for all games in the Azerbaijan football league. The mobile solution is used in cases where venues lack a fibre line connection to the VAR hub or distances are too wide. The mobile VAR solution offers three workplaces with an additional flightcase monitor placed at the sideline for the referees to review questionable incidents.

While the 10 stadia across the country that make up the league (*) are already connected with dedicated fibre lines three are available at any one time—since the VOR Room needs to handle three simultaneously. BroaMan’s Mux22 played a central role in the overall solution, with three fixed units in the Baku VAR centre and the other three in mobile racks for the stadiums situated around Baku.

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The three VORs now offer sufficient space for three video assistant referees to work. They, in turn, have access to a separate Central Apparatus Room (CAR), giving them the possibility to cover three matches simultaneously. Each VAR system (both mobile and fixed) is equipped to handle up to eight video signals per match.

Broadcast Solutions’ project manager, Gunnar Jungerts explained how BroaMan had worked with the integrators to produce a customised solution. “The theoretical maximum possible distance of 80 km in a fibre network is dependent on the quality of fibre links and eventually patch points in between. In the given fibre infrastructure we could realise a de facto maximum distance of 56 km. However in the extended range Mux22 works perfectly well, and it is possible to monitor this in the user interface.”

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“With the assistance of the BroaMan devices, Broadcast Solutions have fulfilled the brief from AFFA and implemented a workable solution. As a result the Azerbaijan Football Association now has the ability to share video and audio content, facilitating the processing of data from remote stadia for review and adjudication perfectly,” stated Mrs. Farida Lutfaliyeva, VAR Project Leader.

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