Premier League Clubs Make Decision On Future Of VAR

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Premier League clubs have voted in favor of keeping video assistant referees (VAR) for the upcoming 2024/25 campaign.

It was a landslide statement emphasizing for VAR to remain, with Premier League clubs voting 19-1 in favor of keeping the technology.

Wolverhampton Wanderers triggered a vote on the use of VAR in the 2024/25 season after formally making known their stance in May 2024.

For VAR to be scrapped, 14 of the 20 clubs in the top flight needed to vote against the use of the technology.

However, Wolverhampton Wanderers were the only team, who voted in favor of the proposal, with the Wanderers receiving no support from other Premier League teams.

The Wanderers expressed that they were “disappointed” with how the voting panned out, but welcomed the Premier League’s “commitment” to enhance VAR.

The Premier League has been put under mounting pressure to modify VAR, which was introduced at the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign.

Wolverhampton Wanderers shared 9 reasons why their proposal for the banning of VAR should be supported, including the impact on goal celebrations.

They also listed – hostility towards match officials and the length of time needed to reach decisions, as reasons why their proposal should be backed.

Moreover, it was reiterated at the meeting that semi-automated offsides will be introduced at some point in the autumn.

VAR Decisions To Take New Turn In The Premier League Next Season With Introduction Of In-game Announcements

The Premier League also confirmed in-game VAR announcements will be put in place, where officials will explain to supporters their reason for taking a particular decision.

In-game announcements were used during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and it was commended by many globally.

Additionally, the Premier League stated the “high threshold” bar for VAR officials to intercede over subjective on-field decisions would be kept.

Chairman of the Football Supporters Association, Malcolm Clarke, expressed that many changes were needed to the present system being employed because fans cannot continue like this.

Definitely, it is not shocking that Wolverhampton Wanderers’ proposal was rejected, as the Premier League was committed to paying for it, whether it was used or not.

Certainly, the likelihood of clubs joining Wolves was pretty much non-existent, as the benefit of using the technology far outweighs the risk.

However, Wolverhampton Wanderers might have achieved their secondary intention which was to generate a wider debate on the use of VAR in the Premier League.

Obviously, stakeholders involved in the sport aren’t happy with the way it’s being used in the English top-flight division, and as such, improvement is needed.

The Premier League are in search of better transparency, which referees’ chief Howard Webb believes will result in a greater understanding of the decision-making process.

Clubs and players also want decisions to be made quickly and rightly, without errors that could cost teams at the end of the campaign.

Hopefully, VAR will be used in a better way in the 2024/25 campaign, and the introduction of semi-automated offsides from next autumn should also come in handy in the coming months.

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