Published: 16:56, May 16, 2024
Premier League clubs to vote on dropping VAR
By Reuters
The display shows the VAR decision on a disallowed goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Arsenal at the Goodison Park stadium in Liverpool, England, Sept 17, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)

Premier League clubs will vote on whether to drop video assistant referees (VAR) from next season after Wolverhampton Wanderers submitted a resolution on Wednesday, citing the "negative consequences that damage the relationship between fans and football".

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VAR was introduced in 2019 to assist on-field officials with key match decisions, but the technology has been at the center of controversy with complaints ranging from its extensive analysis to delays that can take several minutes.

The big screen displays Checking Goal during a VAR review after West Ham's Konstantinos Mavropanos scores a disallowed goal during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Aston Villa, at the London stadium in London, March 17, 2024. (PHOTO / AP)

"After five seasons of VAR in the Premier League, it is time for a constructive and critical debate about its future," the Wolverhampton statement said.

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"Our position is that the price we are paying for a small increase in accuracy is contrary to the spirit of our game and should therefore be removed from the 2024/25 season onwards."

A Premier League spokesperson confirmed they will facilitate a discussion on VAR with clubs at next month's annual general meeting.

Penalty check of the VAR during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and West Ham United at Emirates stadium in London, Dec 26, 2022. (PHOTO / AP)

However, he added that while clubs are entitled to put forward proposals, the league fully supports the use of VAR and remains committed, alongside the referees' body PGMOL, to continuing to improve the system for the benefit of the game and its fans.

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"The void left, having removed VAR, would potentially place even greater criticism on on-field decisions made by match officials and increase frustration by supporters. This would also have a significant impact on the Premier League's reputation," he said.

Last month, Sweden's top leagues said they would not consider introducing the VAR system after clubs voiced their opposition to the technology.