Premier League set to introduce major change to VAR from 2024/25 season

Premier League set to introduce major change to VAR from 2024/25 season...Continue The Full Reading.

The Premier League is expected to approve plans for referees to announce why they have changed their decisions after VAR checks in time for the 2024/25 season.

Match-going experiences have been hindered in recent years by long VAR checks and a lack of clarity over why decisions have been altered. These problems are only exacerbated at grounds such as Old Trafford and Anfield which do not feature big-screens.

ESPN report the Premier League hope to pass legislation for referees to announce decisions to crowds ahead of the 2024/25 campaign.

Speaking on Match Officials Mic’d Up in which VAR decisions are explained and audio between officials can be heard, PGMOL’s chief refereeing officer Howard Webb confirmed these plans.

“When you hear the clips on shows like this it makes sense what’s happening; it all becomes apparent. We’re looking at ways to improve the in-stadium experience,” Webb said.

“One of the things you’ll have seen maybe in FIFA tournaments, like the Women’s World Cup, is announcements from the referee once they’ve been to the screen. So we’re looking at that, we’re keeping an open mind about whether that’s something we could utilise in the Premier League.

“It would be really useful for the referee to be able to speak to all of the people in the stadium – [to explain] the rationale.”

Referees explaining decisions aloud was introduced at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup as part of a 12-month trial introduced by football’s law-makers IFAB. This initiative has since been introduced by several leagues across the world, including Major League Soccer.

The Premier League will also include semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) from next season, though it will be introduced early in the campaign rather than right at the start of it.

Webb added: “It will make us quicker in a lot of situations involving tight offsides. At the moment we’re using software, dropping lines from players’ body positions, which takes time to do in a diligent way. Semi-automated offsides will speed that process up.

“There are still going to be some situations when there’s a lot of players in close proximity, where we’ll have to go through the existing system, if you like. But in many, many cases it [SAOT] will speed up the offside process because we won’t have to place those lines. It’ll be done for us by the software. So we are looking forward to making use of that to speed the game up.

“Semi-automated suggests to us where the offside line is, but we still have to check the kick point – make sure the computer selected the right one, make sure it’s selected the right players, because we have to recognise who is the defender that we’re interested in, make sure it’s identified the right players. And it’s just like a validation really, of what the computer is suggesting to us.

“There’s no indication [from SAOT] to the on-field officials as yet as to whether or not a player’s offside. That might be something that comes down the track, where they get some information in real-time, which will prevent the delaying of flags. But that’s some way off.

“But we’re keeping a really close eye on anything that makes us more accurate, more efficient, and that benefits the game in a way that we think the VAR has overall in the last four to five years.”…Continue Full Reading.>’.

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