The 2021 Copa América tournament was the 47th edition of the international men’s football championship organized by South America’s football ruling body, CONMEBOL. Clear-Com®’s Brazilian Partner, Savana Comunicações LTD., in conjunction with Mediapro Group Paraguay, were charged with providing the Video Assist Referee (VAR) equipment and expertise for the Copa América games taking place in five different stadiums in Brazil. Clear-Com products can be configured in multiple ways to meet the communication requirements of VAR, and each of the five stadiums used a different combination of Eclipse® HX Digital Matrix System, HelixNet® Digital Network Partyline, FreeSpeak II® Digital Wireless Intercom, Clear-Com Encore® Analog Partyline, LQ®Series of IP Interfaces and V-Series™ Iris Panels to make VAR implementation possible during the tournament.
A Video Assist Referee is an appointed match official who reviews decisions made by the head referee with the use of video footage in order to minimize human errors. This process requires efficient, reliable communications with very low latency between the VAR referee reviewing the footage, the head referee on the field, and the video replay operator, as it can greatly influence the outcome of a game.
“The communication is the most important part for the VAR team. It’s important that the audio is clear and intelligible because we are recording it for playback that can impact who wins the game,” said Sergio Miño, Technical Manager, Mediapro Paraguay.
Five major Brazilian stadiums—the Maracanã, Estádio Olímpico Nilton Santos (Engenhão), Mané Garrincha, Serra Dourada, and the Arena Pantanal—used a VAR system powered by Clear-Com systems for their Copa América matches.
Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá city used a VAR system based around FreeSpeak II, the Serra Dourada Stadium in Goiania city used a HelixNet digital partyline, and two stadiums in Rio de Janeiro, the Maracanã and Estádio Olímpico Nilton Santos, as well as the Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia, used similar configurations with Encore analog partyline system integrated with an Eclipse HX frame via LQ, and V-Series panels connected over IP.
“We had Savana’s Clear-Com expertise and technical teams to help us with setup and operation during the matches in all the stadiums we served which was an ideal situation, and we had zero problems regarding Clear-Com,” said Sergio.
“The Clear-Com users reported that the systems were easy to use and met every demand required by the sport and by the technical teams operating the systems,” recalled Joao Pedro (JP) Homem, Engineering, Savana Comunicações.
VAR can be game-changing when the outcome depends on validating or reversing a call on the field, and it increases the overall certainty of a call by creating more points of call verification, which greatly reduces the possibility of human error.
“I believe that VAR brings equality to the sport and levels the playing field, so to speak, for all players,” said JP. “It’s great to know that Clear-Com is a part of it, bringing quality and credibility to the referee work. Clear-Com answered every demand without issue which makes us very confident going into the upcoming season,” he concludes.