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06 June 2024

VAR decision… the technology stays – key questions as PL clubs vote to keep it

06 June 2024

Premier League clubs have voted 19 to one in favour of keeping VAR next season.

Wolves, who requested a vote to scrap the technology at the league’s annual general meeting, were the only club who ultimately voted to abolish it.

Here the PA news agency takes a closer look.

What has happened?

Wolves exercised their right as a Premier League shareholder last month to call a vote on VAR. The Black Country club said VAR had led to “numerous unintended consequences that are damaging the relationship between fans and football” and that the system was “undermining the Premier League brand”.

Wolves were adamant even as recently as Wednesday they would not be dissuaded from taking the issue to a vote, even if that meant a heavy defeat. Wolves would have required the support of 13 other clubs for their motion to abolish to have been carried.

Ultimately Wolves were the only club who supported getting rid of VAR.

How might VAR be different next season?

Steps have been taken which the Premier League, referees’ body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and top-flight clubs hope will improve the experience of VAR in 2024-25.

Semi-automated offside technology will be introduced in the autumn, with top-flight sources saying it will reduce the length of time of the average check by 31 seconds.

In-stadium announcements will be made – like those seen at last year’s Women’s World Cup – when an on-field decision is changed following a VAR intervention.

Replays of incidents where VAR intervened will be shown, where possible, on stadium big screens while the “high threshold” for intervention will be maintained.

The Premier League was understood to have had a lower intervention rate last season compared to UEFA and FIFA competitions.

What have Wolves said?

Wolves issued a statement soon after the Premier League confirmed VAR would continue. They welcomed the commitments to improve VAR but said: “We still believe that Premier League football would be superior for supporters, players, coaches and viewers without VAR.”

What about fan reaction?

The chair of the Football Supporters’ Association, Malcolm Clarke, said on Thursday: “Support for VAR has collapsed since its introduction into English football – it’s clear that in its current form it has made the match a less enjoyable experience. So much so that more than two-thirds of supporters now say they are against it.

“There’s a growing feeling from fans that the increase in decision-making accuracy is not a price worth paying for the huge impact VAR has had on the matchgoing experience.

“Enormous changes to the current system are required to improve things, particularly for supporters in stadiums. We cannot carry on like this.”

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