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The use of VAR in the Premier League to be discussed


Referees from the English Premier League are meeting at a conference this weekend where one of the topics of discussion will be the use of VAR during the upcoming season reports today.

Adding a review area to the pitch that allows referees to review on pitch incidents and is seen as a positive move for the Premiership. They do want the technology to be used sparingly though, and they hope that it will prevent delays from happening such as have been occurring during the Women’s World Cup.

The hope is that, in particular, the new rules about goalkeeper encroachment during penalty kicks will be able to be decided by the referees on the pitch in most cases rather than them heading to VAR. Though the Premiership is conscious that the rules of the international game must be followed in all cases.

The chief referee for FIFA, Pierluigi Collina indicated the following “What is written in the laws of the game has to be enforced in every (one) of the countries belonging to Fifa, and in every (one) of the competitions arranged by the member association of Fifa.”

Footballer kicking ball
Image: Jannes Glas on Unsplash

During the Women’s World Cup, a number of penalties have been ordered to be retaken after VAR has intervened and ruled that the goalkeeper had encroached on the penalty. It was initially reported that the Premier League would not use VAR to rule on this particular type of incident; however, it has emerged recently that that isn’t their exact position. They actually want the technology to be used for this, but only in the most extreme cases. Mostly they want the referees on the pitch to make the decisions. 

There is an annual conference taking place in London this weekend as part of the referees ongoing training and education, and during this conference, the use of VAR will be discussed.

Shortly before the start of the Women’s World Cup, the new rule on encroachment was introduced to the game. The rule states that goalkeepers must have at least one foot on the goal line, or if they are jumping, then they must have one foot in line with the goal line while the kick is taken.

This new rule has caused a number of controversial decisions during the world cup, including one which caused Scotland to be knocked out of the championship. A penalty was taken during stoppage time that was initially saved by goalkeeper Lee Alexander.

However, VAR reviewed the kick and ruled that she didn’t have a foot on the goal line, and was therefore encroaching. The kick was retaken, and the goal was scored causing Scotland to lose the match. Similar situations have all benefited teams such as Italy and France. 

The technology has now been deployed in all twenty premiership grounds and will allow the VAR hub in London to review decisions. However, they state that it will only be used to correct clear and obvious errors. The technology will also all viewing fans to see what is happening with the decisions. 


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