Clubs to vote on scrapping VAR after Premier League team make demand | Football

VAR could be scrapped ahead of the new Premier League season (Picture: Getty)

Premier League clubs are set to hold a vote on a proposal to scrap VAR after Wolves formally called for its removal from next season onwards.

Video assistant referees have been used in the Premier League since 2019 but there remains intense debate over its purpose and usefulness, particularly after a number of controversies over the last two seasons.

Several managers have hit out at the use of technology and Wolves have now formally called for VAR to be ‘removed’ this summer.

The proposal will trigger a vote between all 20 Premier League clubs when they meet for their annual gathering on June 6, with a two-thirds (14-6) majority required to pass.

‘There is no blame to be placed – we are all just looking for the best possible outcome for football – and all stakeholders have been working hard to try and make the introduction of additional technology a success,’ a statement from Wolves said.

‘However, after five seasons of VAR in the Premier League, it is time for a constructive and critical debate on its future.

‘Our position is that the price we are paying for a small increase in accuracy is at odds with the spirit of our game, and as a result we should remove it from the 2024/25 season onwards.’

VAR has caused more controversy this season

VAR has caused more controversy this season (Picture: Getty)

Wolves, who have been critical of officiating throughout the 2023-24 campaign, claim VAR has caused ‘numerous unintended negative consequences that are damaging the relationship between fans and football, and undermining the value of the Premier League brand’.

In calling for its removal, they listed a number of repercussions, including the impact on goal celebrations, frustration from fans due to lengthy VAR checks, a more hostile atmosphere at Premier League games and the diminished accountability of on-field officials.

Responding to Wolves’ statement, a Premier League spokesperson told The Athletic: ‘The Premier League can confirm it will facilitate a discussion on VAR with our clubs at the annual general meeting next month.

‘Clubs are entitled to put forward proposals at shareholders’ meetings and we acknowledge the concerns and issues around the use of VAR.

‘However, the league fully supports the use of VAR and remains committed, alongside PGMOL, to make continued improvements to the system for the benefit of the game and fans.’

Some of the more high-profile VAR errors this season include the ruling out of a Liverpool goal against Tottenham in September and the failure to award Nottingham Forest a penalty in a defeat to Everton last month.

Forest released a critical statement blasting VAR and accusing the official of bias after the Goodison Park loss, while they reportedly considered suing PGMOL, the body responsible for refereeing games in English professional football.

Wolves have called for VAR to be scrapped

Wolves have called for VAR to be scrapped (Picture: Getty)

Sweden became the first country to reject implementing VAR last month following a backlash from supporters.

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou both joked they would move to Sweden following the decision.

Postecoglou admitted earlier in the season that he would happily get rid of VAR following a string of mistakes and controversies and said the current technology was ‘unsuitable’.

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‘I would [scrap VAR] in its current form, I don’t think technology is ready for our game,’ the Spurs boss said. ‘I’ve got absolutely zero against goal-line technology, that’s a no-brainer.

‘With VAR, we think it’s going to eliminate errors and the more we use it, the worse it’s going to get. What I always loved about England was the frenetic pace of football. Why are we trying to take that out?

‘None of us like it when they are taking so long to make a decision and it sounded like last week they were rushing it. I don’t think the technology is suitable.’

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