EPL clubs say no to VAR debut next season

LONDON • Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will not be used in the Premier League next season after clubs voted to extend trials for another year.

A decision to defer implementation of the controversial refereeing technology was passed by a two-thirds majority at a meeting of the 20 Premier League clubs yesterday, after VAR trials in English football this year were met with widespread criticism.

The Premier League said in a statement: "The decision came after comprehensive discussions regarding the progress made in VAR trials in English football, and key learnings from the many competitions elsewhere using it."

Testing of VAR technology will continue in the background next season, while Premier League clubs have asked that the technology be used in more FA Cup and League Cup ties too. They also asked for a greater emphasis on communicating VAR decisions to spectators, one of the most strident complaints against the technology to this point.

"The clubs agreed that advanced testing will continue to the end of season 2018-19 to make further improvements to the system," the statement read, "especially around communication inside the stadium and for those following at home and around the world".

VAR will be used in Russia at this year's World Cup and has also been approved for use next season by most of Europe's major leagues, including Spain's La Liga, the German Bundesliga and the Italian Serie A.

The major teething problem in VAR's use during this season's FA Cup, as well as in other competitions around Europe, has been a lack of communication in the decision-making process for fans in the stadium.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2018, with the headline 'EPL clubs say no to VAR debut next season'. Print Edition | Subscribe