REPORT: Premier League Press Play On Video Assistant Referees

With the Premier League doing its best to gain acceptance for the plan otherwise known as ‘Project Restart’, much has been mentioned in regard to sporting integrity and that is also a topic when concerning video assistant referees.

There’s no doubt that VAR has been much maligned this season and with several teething issues throughout, it is no surprise that it has drawn the ire of fans both in attendance and watching at home.

Premier League Press Play On Video Assistant Referees

Video Nasty

While although there have been discussions regarding playing the rest of the season’s fixtures at neutral venues and the potential to play just 70 instead of 90 minutes, the notion of removing the video assistant referees has not been such a major talking point.

This is due to the feeling that the removal of VAR in the final quarter of the season, would have a fundamental effect on the rules of the game and the belief is, that even though the system is far from perfect, it cannot be disposed at such a crucial stage of the campaign. Removal would also result in legal action.

It seems that if ‘Project Restart’ is to go ahead, then concessions are going to have to be made and the most obvious of these will be the prospect of all remaining fixtures being played behind closed doors.

That in itself should be the end of any other changes, and whether you agree with neutral venues being utilised, one set of goalposts that cannot be moved is that of the officials and the intepretation of law.

There’s two trains of thought here and if you were to play a Premier League fixture on a neutral venue for 70 minutes, it would not be ideal but fundamentally the game itself would not change.

Fast Forward

If or when the Premier League resumes, the video assistant referees will also proceed alongside the football. As reported by The Telegraph, a failure to complete the season with the use of VAR would result in further legal action, if clubs were to suffer relegation or miss out on a European spot with a decision not being overturned.

As a result, the Premier League has agreed to continue the use of VAR, but alterations with social distancing would come into play at Stockley Park. Currently, three officials are involved, but with numerous matches in a short space of time, other options may need to be identified.

One is the use of mobile vans being outside the grounds. If, for example, a Championship ground is used as a potential neutral venue, VAR isn’t yet set up, allowing mobile vans to help with this.


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