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Full Premier League statement as clubs agree to six ways to improve VAR



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The Premier League have released a statement to confirm that clubs have voted to keep Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in the competition.

Last month, Wolves initiated an unprecedented vote among top-flight clubs, arguing that VAR was harming the relationship between fans and the sport and that the technology was “at odds with the spirit of the game.”

It was then explained that Premier League clubs were set to hold the vote at their annual general meeting on a proposal to abolish the system from the start of the 2024/25 campaign.

The League has now confirmed that Manchester United and 18 other clubs have voted to keep the system in the division, with an agreement that further improvement is needed.

“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,” a statement read.

In particular, the Premier League have noted six particular changes that were focused on during the meeting with its clubs, including the implementation of more ‘robust’ VAR training.

Their statement continued: “As part of thorough discussions at the Annual General Meeting, it was agreed that PGMOL, the Premier League and clubs all have important roles to play in improving the system and its reputation.

“As part of ongoing work to improve VAR, six key areas were focused on as part of discussions with clubs:

  • 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.

“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.”

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