The Premier League was the last of the “Big 5” European leagues to adopt the widely-debated Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) system in 2019.
The discussion on whether or not VAR helps or hinders the fair refereeing of the English game has perhaps become more wildly-debated than ever, as since its introduction there have been a number of high profile errors and protocol breaches that have left fans wondering whether VAR is really the future of football.
This has resulted in the Premier League being the only one of the “Big 5” leagues to NOT have a single referee selected by FIFA to serve as a VAR at the upcoming World Cup this year!
Two examples of such blunders came just recently at the start of September, when on the same afternoon both Newcastle and West Ham disallowed goals by the VAR that would have significantly impacted the final result of their respective games.
In Newcastle’s case, a back-post header from Sven Botman was turned back across Palace’s goal. Joe Willock is then seemingly pushed in the back and sent crashing into Guaita as he tries to reach the ball, before it is turned into the net by Crystal Palace’s own Tyrick Mitchell.
The “foul” committed by Willock would lead the VAR to disallow the goal and leave Newcastle fans furious that the push in Willock’s back to create the collision went unnoticed.
In West Ham’s case, their late equaliser against London rivals Chelsea was scrapped by their VAR due to an apparent foul on goalkeeper Mendy as Maxwel Cornet leaped over him to put the ball in the back of the net – much to the chagrin of David Moyes and the Hammers’ supporting fans.
BOTH appeals have been accepted by the PGMOB (Professional Game Match Officials Board) with the decisions being in-effect accepted as wrong and the organisation promises to “fully co-operate” with a Premier League review of the incidents.
All of this throws more fuel on to the already raging debate of whether or not VAR has a place in the English game, given that it has had two (rather controversial) seasons to prove its worth to the fans.
We want to know whether YOU think that VAR should be a part of the Premier League – join the debate below and give us your thoughts!