English Premier League clubs have voted in favour of introducing Video Assistant Referees (VAR) to the competition from next season.
English Premier League is the only major European league not to make use of Video Assistant Referees. VAR has already been implemented in France, Spain, Germany and Italy.
The vote was held at a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday. The clubs reached an agreement. It will see the English top flight, join the UEFA Champions League in introducing video technology at the start of the 2019-20 campaign. “Premier League clubs have agreed in principle to introduce Video Assistant Referees (VAR) to the competition in the 2019/20 season. ” a statement on the league’s website read.
“At a Shareholders’ Meeting today, clubs were provided with an update on the non-live VAR trials being undertaken by the League and Professional Game Match Officials (PGMOL) this season. Key learnings from VAR’s use in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup, and other leagues across the world, were discussed in detail. The Premier League’s non-live testing programme will remain in place for the rest of this season. Along with a continued emphasis on those Saturday afternoons which have several matches being played concurrently. And developing a clear protocol for communicating VAR decisions to fans. The League will now formally make a request to the International Football Association Board and FIFA to use VAR next season.”
The news comes less than a week after Southampton manager Mark Hughes said the Premier League is “still in the dark ages” because of its delay in adopting VAR. The Saints boss was complaining after striker Charlie Austin had a goal disallowed against Watford. This prompted the forward to hit out at officials in an interview after the game.
“It’s ridiculous. Watford shouldn’t be in the game. We scored a perfectly good goal that was ruled out for offside. ” he said. “The officials cost us two points. They said it was offside; that is a joke. People go on about VAR. They [the referees] clearly need help. If this is the best, most-watched league in the world then give them all the help they need. It is a joke.”