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VAR: Premier League clubs vote 19 to 1 in favour of keeping technology

Premier League clubs voted against Wolves' motion to scrap the use of VAR at an annual general meeting on Thursday


Premier League clubs have voted in favour of keeping the use of the virtual assistant referee (VAR).

A vote on the use of VAR in top-flight matches was triggered after Wolves offered a proposal to scrap the technology for the 2024-25 season.

In order for the motion to pass through, 14 clubs out of 20 had to vote in favour of removing VAR.

But according to the BBC, their proposal has been emphatically pushed back, with the Midlands club the only one to vote to abolish the technology.

But while it was supported, it is felt that several clubs are seeking significant improvements to its use from next season.

A Premier League statement said: “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.”

Six areas of focus

The Premier League outlined six areas of focus in order for the use of VAR to be improved. They are as follows:

1) Maintaining a high threshold for VAR intervention to deliver greater consistency and less interruptions to the flow of the game.

2) Reducing delays to the game, primarily through the introduction of semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) and the maintained high threshold for VAR intervention.

3) 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.

4) Working with PGMOL on the implementation of more robust VAR training to improve consistency, including an emphasis on speed of process while preserving accuracy.

5) 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”.

6) 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.

Semi-automated offsides poised for Autumn arrival

The Premier League did confirm that the use of semi-automated offsides were expected to begin in Autumn – after the 2024-25 campaign has begun.

It was also confirmed the league was working with IFAB to allow live video and audio broadcast during games for greater transparency to supporters about decisions.

The statement added: “It was confirmed in April that Semi-Automated Offside Technology will be introduced in the autumn of 2024.

“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.”

Picture of Cian Cheesbrough

Cian Cheesbrough

Cian is a sports journalist with a wealth of experience writing for national titles, including LiveScore, MailOnline, Eurosport and Sky Sports. He has covered a number of key events during his time in the industry, including from the press box at live Champions League fixtures.