VAR Technology

Premier League clubs in talks to scrap VAR from next season

VAR has been a speculation since the beginning and Premier League clubs have decided to discuss its presence with the board.

Next month the Premier League clubs vouch their opinion regarding the future of video assistant referees (VAR) after Wolverhampton Wanderers cited the scrapping of the technology.

Clubs will be given the opportunity to vote on whether to retain or abolish the VAR in the annual general meeting on June 6th as per reports. A majority of 14-6 is required to dump VAR out of the competition.

A Premier League spokesperson said. “Clubs are entitled to put forward proposals at shareholders’ meetings and we acknowledge the concerns and issues around the use of VAR,”

“However, the league fully supports the use of VAR and remains committed, alongside PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited), to make continued improvements to the system for the benefit of the game and fans.”

VAR was introduced in the Premier League in 2019 to help referees make correct decisions. However, that alone wasn’t the case, as it torched up many controversies making it a common point of discussion. Perhaps, the most controversial moment that happened on-pitch was Luis Diaz’s goal against Tottenham Hotspur in September mistakenly disallowed for being offside by VAR officials.

Wolves stressed more about it without pulling names or groups calling for a “constructive and critical debate” on VAR’s usage. Club head coach Gary O’Neil has always been an open critic about the technology.

“Our position is that the price we are paying for a small increase in accuracy is at odds with the spirit of our game, and as a result, we should remove it from the 2024-25 season onwards,” read a Wolverhampton statement.

The Consequences

Here are the outlined problems stated by Wolves:

The use of video reviews has diluted goal celebrations and spontaneous passion among the fans.

  • Fans have booed the Premier League anthem, chanted against VAR, and even accused the competition of corruption due to increased frustration and confusion inside stadiums due to poor communication during VAR check.
  • Closely examining has harmed the game’s legitimacy leading to subjective decisions, rather than “clear and obvious” incidents. The Premier League’s fast-paced game is also harmed by reviews, leading to excessively long matches.
  • On-pitch referees make fewer quick decisions waiting for VAR to intervene making supporters’ trust in officials drop. Sometimes errors are even made after long reviews.
  • Discussions about VAR decisions often dominate matches.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Nottingham Forest have also come out and publicly complained about the technology, joining Wolves and Liverpool in the list.

This has caused huge concern to the Premier League’s board of directors in removing VAR, to prevent further damage to the English top-flight, as per reports.

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