Premier League clubs vote to keep VAR but demand improvements, speed and clarity

June 7 – Premier League clubs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of continuing to operate VAR in the Premier League.  

Wolverhampton Wanderers had triggered the vote on the continued use of VAR in the 2024-25 season after formally submitting a resolution to the Premier League in May off the back of a frustrating season.

In order for VAR to be scrapped, 14 of the 20 Premier League clubs needed to vote in favour of doing so. In the end the clubs voted 19-1 against the motion but demanded improvements for the benefit of the teams and their fans.

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

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

The Premier League listed six key areas of focus as part of discussions with clubs:

  • Maintain a high threshold for VAR intervention to ensure consistency and fewer game interruptions.
  • Reduce game delays with semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) and a high threshold for VAR.
  • Enhance fan experience by minimising delays, providing in-stadium announcements after VAR decisions, and showing big screen replays of all VAR interventions.
  • Collaborate with PGMOL on robust VAR training to improve consistency and speed while maintaining accuracy.
  • Increase transparency and communication around VAR with more updates from the Premier League Match Centre and shows like ‘Match Officials Mic’d Up’.
  • Launch a communication campaign to clarify VAR’s role to fans and stakeholders.

It was confirmed in April that Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT), which debuted at the 2022 Qatar World Cup and is used in the UEFA Champions League, will be introduced in the autumn of 2024.

Premier League clubs had turned down a proposal to introduce SAOT at the start of last season, but have since made a U-turn after becoming frustrated at the inconsistency of officiating.

The new 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”, said the league.

The Premier League also said it will also work with PGMOL to continue to lobby IFAB in an effort to allow greater flexibility in the Laws of the Game so that live video and audio can be broadcast during VAR reviews. This follows frustration from fans since VAR’s introduction over the lack of clarity around some decision-making.

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1719300210labto1719300210ofdlr1719300210owedi1719300210sni@g1719300210niwe.1719300210yrrah1719300210