Uncertainty Hits Wolves’ Bid To Scrap Premier League VAR

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Premier League clubs are unlikely to vote through Wolves’ proposal to scrap the use of the video assistant referee when member clubs meet at an annual general meeting on Thursday, 6 June, but in-game VAR announcements are set to be introduced.

Wolves formally submitted a resolution to the Premier League in May, which triggered a vote on retaining the use of VAR.

However, while Wolves stand by their decision to raise the issues after a string of decisions went against them last season, it is thought the club have little chance of getting the 14 votes needed for their proposal to be accepted.

According to BBC Sport Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham are among clubs who want to keep VAR, but are demanding that improvements are made.

One other Premier League club has said the VAR system at the moment “isn’t working” and there “clearly are issues” with the system.

While Wolves’ proposal is set for defeat, most clubs believe the current situation needs a major overhaul and Howard Webb, head of refereeing body PGMOL, has said changes to VAR are being looked at.

One expected change is the use of in-game VAR announcements from referees, which the Premier League is likely to trial from next season.

World governing body Fifa introduced the trials at a number of its competitions last year and confirmed this would be extended after positive feedback.

Although the match referee will only be confirming decisions after they have been made and no discussions involving the VAR will be heard, the Premier League view the concept as a step forward.

It is in line with the drive for greater transparency from Webb, who defended the standard of refereeing in April.

The Premier League is confident the introduction of semi-automated offsides at some point in the autumn, after the 2024-25 season has started, will help speed up decisions, although the time taken to award Olympiakos’ winning goal in the Uefa Conference League last week underlined not all decisions are reached quickly with the system.

It is understood Webb and the Premier League would like to go further but are constrained by current regulations set by the game’s lawmaking body, the International Football Association Board.

Malcolm Clarke, chair of the Football Supporters Association, told BBC Sport the majority of their members are now opposed to VAR.

“The support for the introduction of VAR originally has collapsed and 80% of fans now say the experience is poor or very poor, so we cannot go on with this as we are,” he said.

Clarke said there should be a “national debate” on the use of VAR and asked the Premier League to be open to discussion.

“Most of our members think the price of spoiling the match experience is not a price worth paying for a small increase in accurate decisions,” he said.

“It’s good Wolves have tabled this, it has been a catalyst for a real debate and whatever happens it’s essential that debate continues.”

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