Blundering refs force Premier League to push through VAR for next season

By Andrew Warshaw

November 16 – Premier League clubs have finally decided to introduce video assistant referees from next season pending formal approval. In April, despite its use across Europe’s other major leagues, England’s elite voted against the system being implemented in this season’s domestic campaign.

But such was VAR’s success at the World Cup and the subsequent clamour for its use in the Premier League after a series of early-season refereeing blunders that club bosses appear to have finally got the message. Even UEFA have conceded that VAR’s advantages outweigh its pitfalls and are bringing it into operation in next season’s Champions League.

The Premier League will now make a formal request to the International Football Association Board, whose next main meeting is in early March, and FIFA.

VAR has been used in selected domestic English cup games cup games while the Premier League has been carrying out “non-live” trials this season.

But last Saturday, after his team had been denied a perfectly good goal, Southampton manager Mark Hughes accused the Premier League of living “in the dark ages” despite the fact that it was one of the first major footballing countries to introduce goalline technology.

After clubs were provided with a VAR update at a shareholders meeting on Thursday, a Premier League statement said: “Key learnings from VAR’s use in the FA and Carabao Cups, and other leagues across the world, were discussed in detail.”

“The League will now formally make a request to the International Football Association Board and FIFA to use VAR next season.”

“The Premier League’s non-live testing programme will remain in place for the rest of this season, with a continued emphasis on those Saturday afternoons which have several matches being played concurrently, and developing a clear protocol for communicating VAR decisions to fans. “

Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey, speaking on BBC Radio, commented: “I know a lot of people are against VAR but we’ve got to embrace it now and move forward. We’ve seen this season a number of incidences that have been called wrong.”

“The referees will still want to go out and get the key match decisions right, it’s very important that referees are not hiding behind the VAR – they’ve still got to be making these big calls correctly.”

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