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Introduction and history in the Premier League

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Love it or hate it, VAR is here to stay. In the Premier League, technology has been accepted in the modern game and steps are being taken to improve officiating in football.

However, referees are still learning how to implement the new methods, leading to some serious teething issues – issues which show no sign of being solved anytime soon.

Here’s how the process came into use in the Premier League.

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What is VAR?

A VAR is a video assistant referee in a football match who reviews decisions made by the on-field referee. They watch highlights via a high number of screens and review events in slow motion to advise on-field referees. Its purpose is to eliminate clear and obvious mistakes that can be missed by officials in real time.

They are brought into play during four scenarios:

The VAR checks each decision which falls under these four categories. If no mistake is spotted, play continues. There can be delays while the VAR ascertains whether or not there has been a clear and obvious mistake – much to fan frustration.

If action is needed when a clear and obvious error is spotted, three scenarios can play out:

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The referee then explains their decision to the VAR and proceeds with their desired course of action. A VAR cannot overturn the decision of the on-field referee.

When was VAR introduced?

The use of video assistant referees was first introduced into the Premier League in the 2019/20 season. Extensive testing on the system had taken place in the years before, including trialling it in FA Cup and Carabao Cup matches.

Why was VAR introduced?

Essentially, to give referees more resources to make correct decisions in the big moments.

Current technology and social media’s reach mean fans can spot mistakes, so using that technology to improve officiating made sense given its adoption in other sports.

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In 2016, the International Football Association Board approved trials for video referees or “live experiments”. By March 2018, IFAV had allowed the use of VARs and later that year Premier League clubs voted to introduce it in the 2019/20 season.

The responsibility of VAR has since transferred from IFAB to FIFA, though the parties continue to work closely together regarding VAR protocol and any related laws.

Has it been successful?

In 2022, criticism of VAR is as rife as it has ever been. While supposedly operating under the “minimal interference, maximum benefit” philosophy, the consistency of decision-making has been poor and a clear change in direction is needed.

Every team in the Premier League has endured its fair share of VAR blunders, but this season things have been so bad that a review with PGMOL took place. That occurred after goals were controversially chalked off for West Ham and Chelsea earlier this month.

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The main issue in the early stages of VAR has been the human nature of refereeing. Some VARs have different thresholds than others on what they consider a foul or even their interpretation of the phrase ‘clear and obvious’.

Given decisions can be subjective from referee to referee, goals have been getting disallowed when they shouldn’t. Managers consistently call for consistency, but currently, it seems hard to imagine a VAR system which keeps every referee, player, manager and fan happy.



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Mohamed Salah to return to Liverpool after being released from Egypt duty

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Mohamed Salah is set to leave the Egypt national team camp ahead of schedule and return to Liverpool training.

The forward scored twice in a 3-0 win against Niger on Friday, but manager Rui Vitoria has confirmed that his star man will be rested for Tuesday’s friendly with Liberia.

Salah will not be at risk of injury while on international duty and will now head back to Merseyside ahead of Liverpool’s return to Premier League action.

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The Reds welcome Brighton to Anfield on Saturday, with Roberto De Zerbi taking charge of his first Seagulls match after replacing Graham Potter in the dugout.

Jurgen Klopp’s side head into the encounter having won just two of their opening six Premier League games, and sit four points behind Brighton in the table.

Scott SaundersGraeme BaileyToby Cudworth and Sean Walsh bring you a brand new episode of Talking Transfers. The team discuss Jude Bellingham’s future, Bayern Munich’s interest in Harry Kane, widespread Premier League interest in Mykhaylo Mudryk and plenty more. Available on all audio platforms.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

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Salah has scored just two Premier League goals so far this season, while Liverpool are yet to see the best of summer signing Darwin Nunez.

Liverpool’s last two matches have both come in the Champions League – a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Napoli and a narrow 2-1 win over Ajax – due to postponements in relation to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Their last league outing was their 0-0 draw in the Merseyside derby at Everton on September 3.





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RUMOUR: Man Utd could launch shock Pickford swoop as they consider letting De Gea go

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RUMOUR: Man Utd could launch shock Pickford swoop as they consider letting De Gea go

Manchester United may consider a shock bid for Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the midst of uncertainty encompassing David De Gea’s future, reports propose.

As per the Telegraph, United are not persuaded they need to broaden De Gea’s agreement, which runs out in June and procures him an astounding £350,000, and could allow him to go free of charge in June.

The Spanish shot-stopper, who was omitted from Luis Enrique’s Spain squad for the international break, suffered a poor start to the season with a raft of errors most notably at Brentford.

And United are also dealing with a high wage bill that reached a Premier League record of £384million last season.

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The Red Devils announced earlier this week that their salaries have increased by a whopping £61.6m from the previous year.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return as well as Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane’s arrivals led to a 19.1 per cent increase in their salary bill as well as a net loss amounting to £115.5m.

United are assessing their long-term plans and a change between the sticks can’t be ruled out, even though De Gea, 31, has improved recently and has been integral in the last 11 years at Old Trafford.

That could bring England’s No1 Pickford, 28, into the frame come January.

The Everton shot stopper has various clubs carefully monitoring his situation as he will have just one year left on his Everton contract at the end of the season.

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The England international is also a homegrown player, which is very appealing to his suitors.

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Rob Page says Wales ‘will be in contact’ with LAFC regarding Gareth Bale’s World Cup fitness

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Wales boss Rob Page has revealed he’ll remain in close contact with LAFC regarding Gareth Bale’s fitness as the World Cup approaches.

Bale played the full 90 minutes as Wales lost 1-0 against Poland on Sunday in a result that confirmed their relegation from their UEFA Nations League group.

However, that’s the first time the 33-year-old has managed a full game at any level since March of this year, while he hasn’t gone 90 at club level since a La Liga match against Getafe for Real Madrid in April 2020.

Wales’ next game is their World Cup Group B opener against the United States on November 21. Before then, it’s vital Bale plays as many minutes as possible in the MLS regular season and Playoffs for LAFC.

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“They want Gareth available for them and we want him in the physical position for the first [World Cup] game against the USA. We will be in contact with them and make sure he is in the right place,” Page said of Bale’s situation at LAFC, where only two of the forward’s 11 appearances have been from the start.

“What he does from now until the first game, we will be in contact with the club and help manage those minutes. They are a good outfit, LA, so they will know exactly how to get him from where he is now to full fitness, which is 90 minutes week in, week out.”

LAFC are level on 64 points with the Philadelphia Union at the top of the overall MLS standings. The Black and Gold have just two more regular season games remaining – away to the Portland Timbers and at home against Nashville SC – before they begin their Playoffs run.

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Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.



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