Referee Cuneyt Cakir signals for VAR during a World Cup game between Argentina and Nigeria
Finally, Video Assistant Referees (VARs) will be used in the Premier League next season. The introduction of the VAR was voted in by clubs at a meeting on Thursday. Premier League referees are known to be sometimes biased when they handle the whistle and have caused fans, players and clubs a lot of nightmare with such decisions. It was not a surprise however that at the last FIFA World Cup, which held in Russia earlier in the year, no English referee made the enviable list of those shortlisted by FIFA to officiate world cup games.
It was heart-warming therefore that England’s top-flight held off introducing VAR this season, even though it has been used in other top leagues, including Spain, and by FIFA at the World Cup. However, the Premier League’s 20 clubs have now decided to introduce VAR from the start of the 2019-20 campaign, pending approval from the International Football Association Board and FIFA.
The VAR was found helpful at the last world cup tournament and was used to decide some critical moments that would have gone down the history as controversial. The game between Nigeria and Argentina was one of such high-profile games that the VAR was used to settle heated disagreement between the two countries.
In a statement on their website, the Premier League said: ‘Premier League clubs have agreed in principle to introduce video assistant referees (VAR) to the competition in the 2019-20 season. ‘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 League will now formally make a request to the International Football Association Board and FIFA to use VAR next season.’