Premier League plans to use VAR in 2019 after clubs vote to implement; here's what you need to know
The league is following in the footsteps of many others by implementing VAR
The introduction of video assistant referee, more commonly known as VAR, has sparked controversy and has been a huge topic of discussion in world soccer over the last couple of seasons in several competitions. Various major leagues around the globe have adopted it, and we also saw it featured in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. On Thursday at a shareholders' meeting, the first major step to implement it in the Premier League occurred as clubs agreed in principle to introduce it next season. Here's what to you need to know about the announcement made by the Premier League:
What is VAR?
A trained match official watches the match from a review room to carefully analyze various parts of the game to ensure the proper calls for specific situations are made. They can communicate directly with the referee, with the ref asking for a review or the VAR initiating the review.
The three main incidents that are reviewed are goals, penalty decisions, and direct red card incidents. Additionally, mistaken identity cases are reviewed if there is a concern that the referee cautioned or sent off a player who wasn't responsible for the action.
What leagues and competitions use it?
Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga, Major League Soccer and many more leagues use it, and so do major competitions like the World Cup and the Copa Libertadores in South America. It's also been implemented in select FA Cup and Carabao Cup games in England.
So it will be in the Premier League?
Assuming all goes to plan, it will be introduced in the 2019-20 season. On Thursday, the Premier League clubs agreed in principle to introduce it next season, the league announced. In fact, the Premier League will have non-live testing programs for VAR that will be in place for the remainder of the season as it looks to adapt to what the league would be like with it.
Now the Premier League will formally make a request to the International Football Association Board and FIFA to use it next season.
Is it good or bad for the game?
Well, it depends who you ask. On one side, there are people that like the increase in accuracy of calls. Be it a review of moments that can dramatically impact the final result of the game, like a potential penalty kick or a red card. So, getting the call right only seems fair.
On the other side, some people like the unpredictability and human-error part of the game, though there will still be VAR decisions some won't agree with.
It's all part of an effort to make calls more accurate, and the Premier League now plans to build on the use of goal-line technology to join the top leagues in the world using VAR.
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