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History of VAR

25 Jul 2018

Why was the system of a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) introduced into the Premier League?

Premier League match officials can make mistakes and those mistakes can have an impact on the outcome of a match. 

Because technology lets people see immediately on TV or on their phones that mistakes have been made, why not use that technology to help what is happening on the pitch? 

'Clear errors'

In 2016, The International Football Association Board (IFAB), which oversees the Laws of the Game, approved trials for video referees or "live experiments with video assistance for clear errors in match-changing situations". 

"The time has come for the debate to be based on evidence,” said David Elleray, a former Premier League referee and now technical director of IFAB.

"Everyone agreed that we needed to see if it works and whether or not it benefits the game.  

"The initial testing will deliberately have a limited focus to minimise the impact of the flow and emotions which are crucial to football.” 

Unanimous vote

On 3 March 2018, IFAB agreed to allow the use of VARs. 

In November 2018, the Premier League clubs voted unanimously to introduce VAR in season 2019/20, pending testing.

The League and Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), which officiates Premier League matches, undertook extensive testing during the 2018/19 season in live matches, while the League also observed VAR in action in FA Cup and EFL Cup ties.

The testing was deemed a success, confirming the introduction of VAR for 2019/20.

Further VAR reading

VAR protocol
Premier League's VAR principles
Clear and obvious
Referee Review Area (RRA)
Attacking possession phase
How offsides are determined by VAR
Penalty kicks
Unseen incidents
Final decision
History of VAR
Frequently Asked Questions

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