Premier League Clubs Decide to Keep VAR Alive in a Historic Vote

  • VAR was introduced in the 2019/20 season.
  • Since then it has always been at the centre of recurring controversies
  • Wolves wanted it trashed.
VAR has helped increase the number of correct decisions.
VAR has helped increase the number of correct decisions. / Eddie Keogh/GettyImages

It is a historic decision indeed. The Premier League clubs have voted in favour of retaining VAR with an overwhelming majority. Wolverhampton Wanderers were the only club to take a stand against the technology.

The Wolves take on VAR

Wolverhampton had brought a motion to get rid of VAR entirely after they saw crucial refereeing decisions go against them on multiple occasions this season. They felt they were victimised by the system. The motion that was put to vote during the Annual General Meeting was rejected with 19 clubs deciding to vote in favour of VAR. Fourteen clubs' support was required to scrap VAR but Wolves were the only club to oppose it.

They had listed multiple reasons to scrap the Video Assistant Referee system. It was pointed out how it took away the joy of spontaneous celebration as the fans had to wait after each goal to make sure it got the nod from Stockley Park, the seat of VAR. They had also criticised that the safety net of VAR had reduced the accountability of on-field officials. Wolves have a net score on VAR overturns of -17 for the last five-year period, the worst among any Premier League club.

Premier League had earlier this season indicated that correct decisions had increased from 82 to 96 percent under VAR. However, they also admitted that the decision-making needs to be quickened. Delayed decisions slow down the pace of the game and lead to unusually lengthy extra time. The Semi-Automated Offside Technology will be introduced from next season and should reduce the confusion surrounding offsides and help make faster decisions. The technology was used to great effect in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Clubs that voted in favour of the technology did warn that improvements need to be made to it for a better matchday experience. Along with the Premier League and the PGMOL, they have decided to focus on key aspects like the threshold for VAR intervention, robust VAR training, etc.