INTRODUCTION OF VAR TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE

The latest in football development in terms of assistance with fouls has been the introduction of VAR, or Video Assistant Referee, around the world in all the top leagues and international tournaments has received a fare share of criticism. For those of you who don’t know, VAR allows appointed referees to watch a potential foul from different high quality angles and refer it to the on-field referee as to whether it is worth using the VAR monitor on the pitch to decide the foul or not. This was initially welcomed because of the increase in need of assistance to the referees because of the diving problem. Players had started to fake fouls by diving on the smallest of contacts, often none. This led to FIFA aiming for complete transparency on the field by introducing VAR.

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Starting with a few leagues and then the World Cup, VAR was criticized for killing the emotions out of the game, delaying celebrations and causing hiccups in momentums of attacking teams. This was a major concern for the premier league where emotions run high, and the game is always in momentum. Premier League officials were not so keen on introducing it initially, but have agreed to start using it from next season. However, the use will be controlled and special laws have been put into place to allow for minimum usage of VAR. This would happen when human error is considered and is forgiven on the pitch. This could lead to highly subjective decisions taken but atleast the game would not be disturbed to the level that it was, in this year’s women’s world cup. Referees are instructed to be lenient regarding the use of this technology and to use the on field monitor only in cases deemed extremely necessary.

One of the ways to really speed up the process could possibly be that the referees sitting in VAR rooms make the decision and forward it to the on field referee but up till now, no such changes have been made and we are all but curious about how VAR would be affecting games in the seasons to come.

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