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Premier League clubs vote to keep VAR – but with 6 improvements

Liverpool are among the 19 Premier League clubs reported to have voted in favour of keeping VAR.

Wolves‘ motion to abolish video assistant referees has been quashed by a 19 to one majority in favour of keeping them in the Premier League.

A statement from the league read: “Premier League clubs today voted in favour of continuing to operate VAR in the Premier League.

“While VAR produces more accurate decision-making, it was agreed that improvements should be made for the benefit of the game and supporters.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 16, 2022: Referee Anthony Taylor indicates a VAR review during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“As part of thorough discussions at the Annual General Meeting, it was agreed that PGMOL, the Premier League and clubs all have important roles to play in improving the system and its reputation.”

The league then went on to list the six changes they will be concentrating on.

    The improvements

  • Maintaining a high threshold for VAR intervention to deliver greater consistency and less interruptions to the flow of the game.
  • Reducing delays to the game, primarily through the introduction of semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) and the maintained high threshold for VAR intervention.
  • Improving fan experience through a reduction in the delays, in-stadium announcements from referees after a post-VAR change of decision and where possible, an enhanced offering of big screen replays to include all VAR interventions.
  • Working with PGMOL on the implementation of more robust VAR training to improve consistency, including an emphasis on speed of process while preserving accuracy.
  • Increasing transparency and communication around VAR – including expanded communications from Premier League Match Centre and through broadcast programming such as “Match Officials Mic’d Up”.
  • The delivery of a fan and stakeholder VAR communication campaign, which will seek to further clarify VAR’s role in the game to participants and supporters.

We will also see the introduction of semi-automated offsides this autumn, like what has been used in the Champions League and Europa League.

The Premier League‘s statement added: “The technology will provide quicker and consistent placement of the virtual offside line, based on optical player tracking, and will produce high-quality broadcast graphics to ensure an enhanced in-stadium and broadcast experience for supporters.

“The Premier League and PGMOL will continue to lobby IFAB to allow greater flexibility in the Laws of the Game to allow live video and audio broadcast during VAR reviews.”

Was this the right decision from the clubs to keep VAR? Tell us in the comments.