• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Premier League clubs approve use of VAR for 2024/25 season

VAR (1)

Premier League clubs have voted to continue using video assistant referees (VAR) for the 2024/25 season. At the league’s annual general meeting in Harrogate on Thursday, 19 out of the 20 clubs voted in favour of retaining the system.

Wolves were the only club to vote against VAR, having previously initiated the vote to scrap it due to concerns about its impact on the Premier League brand, particularly after several controversial decisions.

Since its introduction at the start of the 2019/20 season, VAR has faced criticism for its inconsistencies and the time it takes to make decisions. Despite growing discontent among managers and fans during the 2023/24 season, the motion to remove VAR required the support of 14 clubs but received backing only from Wolves.

Wolves expressed disappointment at the outcome but acknowledged the Premier League’s commitment to improving VAR. They had outlined nine reasons for their proposal, including the disruption to goal celebrations,
increased hostility towards match officials, and lengthy decision-making times.

In response to the vote, the Premier League reaffirmed plans to introduce semi-automated offsides in the autumn and implement in-game VAR announcements to provide more transparency to supporters. These measures aim to address some of the criticisms by improving the accuracy and speed of decisions.

The Premier League’s statement emphasized that while VAR produces more accurate decisions, enhancements are needed for the benefit of the game and its supporters. The introduction of semi-automated offside technology is expected to reduce the average waiting time for decisions by 31 seconds.

Additionally, the Premier League plans to maintain the “high threshold” for VAR intervention in subjective on-field decisions and to provide big-screen replays of all VAR interventions where feasible. Efforts will also continue to lobby the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to allow live video and audio broadcasts during VAR reviews, enhancing the transparency and understanding of decisions among fans.

Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters’ Association, called for significant changes to the current system, expressing that the current state of VAR is unsustainable for fans.

The Premier League’s commitment to improving VAR is seen as a step towards addressing these concerns and enhancing the overall experience for supporters.