VAR: referees to discuss how it is used in Premier League

VAR
Referees can review a decision using an on-field review monitor

Premier League officials will meet this weekend to discuss their approach to using video assistant referees (VAR).

VAR will be used in the Premier League for the first time in the 2019-20 season.

The league is understood to be keen for the referee review area, where referees can look at incidents again, to be used sparingly.

The hope is that this would limit delays such as those seen in this summer's Women's World Cup.

There is a desire for the new rule on goalkeepers moving off their line to save penalties to be decided by on-field officials in most cases.

However, the league is conscious the international laws of the game must be followed, as indicated by Fifa referees' chief Pierluigi Collina.

"What is written in the laws of the game has to be enforced in every (one) of the countries belonging to Fifa, and in every (one) of the competitions arranged by the member association of Fifa," said Collina on Wednesday.

Some penalties have been retaken at the Women's World Cup after VAR ruled keepers did not have at least part of one foot on the goalline.

After media briefings a week ago, it was reported that the Premier League indicated it did not intend to use technology to help rule on the new penalty regulations.

However, it is understood the league's stance is more nuanced, and it believes referees should take advice on the clearest breaches.

There is also an awareness that fans want the pace and momentum of the game to be maintained where possible.

The whole VAR issue will be discussed at an annual conference of referees at the weekend, which is part of ongoing training and education.

Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), which supplies top-flight referees, could review the situation during the season.

It will also listen to feedback from referee Stuart Attwell, who was a video assistant at the Under-20 World Cup in Poland.

What has happened with penalties?

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Dramatic scenes as VAR penalty retake sends Scots home

World football's law-making body, the International Football Association Board, introduced a new rule shortly before the Women's World Cup on the issue of goalkeeper encroachment at penalties.

It stated keepers must have at least one foot on the goalline when a penalty is taken or, if they are jumping at the time of contact, have one foot in line with it.

World football's governing body, Fifa, has focused on this during the tournament in France, with some referees warning keepers immediately before spot-kicks.

Scotland were controversially knocked out of the World Cup after keeper Lee Alexander initially saved a stoppage-time spot-kick.

The VAR ordered a retake - which was converted - after Alexander was judged not to have had at least part of one foot on the goalline.

France and Italy also benefited from similar situations at the tournament.

What will happen next season?

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How does VAR work?

All 20 Premier League grounds are equipped with the technology which will allow decisions to be assessed from the VAR hub in Stockley Park, west London.

VAR will be used for 'clear and obvious errors'; in four areas - Goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity.

This will lead to changes in the viewing experience for fans:

  • Television: Viewers will be able to see what the video assistant referees watch, including an 'over the shoulder' angle of the officials in the studio. The VAR team will be announced in advance, as per the on-field refereeing group. Broadcasters will be keen matches do not extend too much over the regular 90 minutes, particularly Sky when it has double-headers, with matches kicking off at 14:00 and 16:00 BST.
  • Stadium: Information about a VAR check will appear on the big screens at the 18 grounds which are equipped with them ie 'Checking red card'. When a decision is overturned, a video of the incident will be shown when appropriate. At the two grounds which do not have screens - Anfield (Liverpool) and Old Trafford (Manchester United), announcements will be made via the scoreboard and PA.

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