VAR to Be Introduced for Start of 2019-20 Premier League Season

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2018

SWANSEA, WALES - MARCH 17: The VAR system on the sidelines at Liberty Stadium prior to kick off of the Fly Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final match between Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Liberty Stadium on March 17, 2018 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)
Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Premier League clubs have reached a deal in principle to introduce Video Assistant Referees (VAR) from the start of the 2019-20 campaign. 

In a statement on its official website, the Premier League said "key learnings from VAR's use in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup, and other leagues across the world, were discussed" in a shareholders meeting on Thursday.

The next step will now see the Premier League "formally make a request to the International Football Association Board and FIFA to use VAR next season." 

It's added there has been "non-live testing" of VAR at a number of Saturday afternoon games throughout the course of this season, and that will continue to help in "developing a clear protocol for communicating VAR decisions to fans."

When the technology is implemented next season, it'll see English football's top flight join a number of other high-profile leagues in using VAR. In the Bundesliga and Serie A, it's been in place for two seasons, La Liga introduced it at the start of the current campaign.

VAR was also used at the FIFA World Cup in the summer. While there were some issues with its implementation at times, overall it was considered to be a success by supporters.

While the introduction of VAR remains divisive, there were calls from players for it to come into action after controversial refereeing decisions after matches in the Premier League last weekend.

Charlie Austin launched into a rant after his goal for Southampton was disallowed against Watford. "People go on about VAR—they clearly need help," he said, per Sachin Nakrani of the Guardian. "If this is the best, most-watched league in the world, then give them all the help they need. It is a joke."

Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger also bemoaned the lack of VAR following his tangle with Everton's Bernard during their 0-0 draw on Sunday.

"I think if in England we have VAR, then I think Bernard has a problem," he said, per Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph. "He was diving and I told him to stand up, and then I was standing and he came with a lot of speed and hit me with his forehead, and I get a yellow card. To me, that's a joke."

VAR can be used by referees to assess four areas when a "clear and obvious error" may have been made—goals, red cards, penalties and cases of mistaken identity.