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Shanghai: Top Asian club coaches expressed their support for the research into the use of technology to aid referees at the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) inaugural Elite Club Coaches’ Forum in Shanghai, China.

After two days of discussion and debate the coaches felt that the use of technology – not just for the goal-line decisions – should be fully examined as it provided support for referees.

The group felt it was important that referees could check decisions using video, not only to protect themselves but also to ensure that mistakes, which could be seen by the television-watching public, could be corrected.

FIFA has been trialling the use of video technology this week – in the friendly international match between Italy and France. Video technology is also being used in the Australia A-League, among others. Coaches from across Asia believed that this was the right time to step up the experiments.

In what was described by Chinese Football Association Vice-President Li Yuyi as a ‘milestone event for Asian football’, top club coaches from across the continent shared their views on a wide range of football matters, including competitions, coaching trends, laws, refereeing, media, and most importantly, technical football development.

Shanghai SIPG coach Sven-Göran Eriksson declared the event, organised by AFC Technical Director Andy Roxburgh so that top Asian club coaches could exchange opinions and ideas, as a total success.

“This type of forum is definitely the way to go for football in Asia. At this event you learnt something and leave the forum with some issues to contemplate. It is also good to spend time with coaches that you may only see for a few seconds during the AFC Champions League.”

Felix Magath, the former Bayern Munich coach, who has just taken over at AFC Champions League quarter-finalists Shandong Luneng, made special mention of the quality of the AFC Champions League.

He said: “My first experience of the competition was only a few days ago and the speed and skill was really impressive.’

In opening the forum, Mr Li Yuyi said: “This is a milestone event and we feel it was a real vote of confidence by the AFC in choosing Shanghai for the first forum of elite club coaches. These gatherings can only assist in the continued progress of football in Asia and, in turn, further increase the competitiveness of the game across the continent.”

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