The Premier League has approved in principle the use of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) starting next season.
During a shareholders’ meeting today, the twenty clubs were updated on the progress of the VAR trials being conducted in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup, as well as learnings from other leagues as well as last summer’s World Cup.
The Premier League have already been testing the stability of the system this season in non-live trials, but will now move to request approval from the International Football Association Board and FIFA for it to be fully implemented for the 2019-2020 season.
VAR is currently being used in the Carabao Cup, but only in Premier League grounds that can support the technology.
Here’s a good explainer on how the VAR system works, from the Evening Standard with the four situations that will be affected.
How VAR works
VAR operates on a three-step process of incident, review/advice, decision, and across the four jurisdictions of football deemed ‘game changing’ by FIFA.
The IFAB says VAR is only to be used “to correct clear errors and for missed serious incidents” in those “match-changing” situations.
VARs and other match officials are able to recommend reviews, but the only person who can initiate one is the referee, who will then have the final say on whether their original decision should stand or be changed.
They have the option to review footage themselves on a pitch-side monitor before making a final decision.
1 - Goals
VARs are used here to help the referee determine whether an infringement was made that should result in the goal not being awarded.
2 - Penalties
Here, VAR will look to ensure that the correct decision was made regarding the award or non-award of a penalty.
3 - Red cards
Much like with penalty decisions, VAR will look to ensure that the correct decision was made.
4 - Mistaken identity
VAR will clarify which players should be cautioned or sent off, or correct the referee in the event of mistaken identity.