Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology is set to be introduced into the Premier League next season, it has been announced. This is following a decision by clubs to agree “in principle” to its introduction.
In April, Premier League clubs voted against its use this season but some poor decisions on the pitch have led to players and managers crying out for some help towards match officials in the form of video technology.
Initially, the majority of fans were against VAR, deeming it too unreliable and too time consuming. Following its common use in the World Cup, football fans have in fact argued that the drama of reviews have added to the excitement of the sport.
VAR was used successfully in the 2018 World Cup and already exists abroad in Germany and Italy’s top divisions
During the World Cup, more than 450 incidents were checked by the VAR officials and 20 were actually reviewed by the head referee, with 17 being influenced by the VAR system.
Without VAR, the officials would have got right an estimate of 95% of the decisions but with it this figure rose to approximately 99%.
As well as for international games, it has also featured briefly in English football, having been utilised in Carabao Cup and FA Cup games.
A statement from the Premier League has revealed that its testing programme will continue for the rest of this season with an emphasis on Saturday afternoons, whereby multiple games are being played at once.
The statement continued: “The league will now formally make a request to the International Football Association board and FIFA to use VAR next season.”
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has previously shown his support towards VAR and as a result the Magpies voted in favour. His opinion is also shared by a number of other managers including Mark Hughes, Sean Dyche, Jose Mourinho and many more.
Southampton striker Charlie Austin angrily called for change after he was denied a perfectly fine goal for offside, a decision he labelled as a “joke”.
Saints manager Mark Hughes also added: “All the major sports have video reviews and for some reason the Premier League, which is watched all around the world, is still in the dark ages.”
VAR has been regularly trialled in a “non-live environment” throughout this current season, although match officials have not been contacted by those conducting the trial.
There are still certain areas that need to be addressed, including how VAR will interact with fans in the stadium.
Listen below to find out how football fans are feeling about the potential introduction of VAR next season…