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Premier League To Retain VAR For Better Game Experience

Premier League clubs, on Thursday, voted in favour of continuing to operate the Video Assistant Referee system (VAR), while agreeing that improvements should be made for the benefit of the game and supporters.

At the Annual General Meeting, clubs acknowledged that while VAR produces more accurate decision-making, it was agreed that PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited), the Premier League, and clubs all have crucial roles to play in enhancing the system and its reputation.

“While VAR produces more accurate decision-making, it was agreed that improvements should be made for the benefit of the game and supporters,” a Premier League statement on Thursday read.

Six key areas were identified as part of ongoing efforts to improve VAR including, Maintaining a high threshold for VAR intervention to ensure greater consistency and fewer interruptions to the game’s flow; Reducing delays through the introduction of semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) and maintaining the high threshold for VAR intervention; Improving the fan experience by reducing delays, in-stadium announcements from referees after a post-VAR decision change, and providing enhanced big-screen replays of all VAR interventions where possible.

Other include, Working with PGMOL on implementing more robust VAR training to improve consistency, with an emphasis on speed of process while preserving accuracy; Increasing transparency and communication around VAR, including expanded communications from the Premier League Match Centre and through broadcast programming such as “Match Officials Mic’d Up.”; and Delivering a fan and stakeholder VAR communication campaign to further clarify VAR’s role in the game to participants and supporters.

The Premier League confirmed that Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT) will be introduced in the autumn of 2024. This technology will provide quicker and more consistent placement of the virtual offside line based on optical player tracking and produce high-quality broadcast graphics to enhance the in-stadium and broadcast experience for supporters.

The statement further noted that the Premier League and PGMOL will continue to lobby the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to allow greater flexibility in the Laws of the Game, permitting live video and audio broadcasts during VAR reviews.

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