VAR: Communications explained

25 Jul 2018

It is important fans in the stadium, as well as those watching on TV, know what is happening when Video Assistant Referees (VAR) are involved in a decision-making process.

If the VAR, who is constantly reviewing the match, does not agree with what the on-field referee believes he or she has seen in a match-changing situation, they can recommend an overturn.

Play continues until the next stoppage, at which point the referee will hold up the resumption of play until a decision has been reached. 

Graphics on big screens

The referee will point to his or her ear to indicate a review is in place.

Supporters will be told of any VAR-related delay in play via Premier League graphics on the big screens in the stadium.

The graphics will communicate the situation that is being checked by VAR and the final decision. 

For clubs without a big screen, VAR communications will be made via a combination of PA announcements and messages on scoreboards.

The on-field referee has the option to use the Referee Review Area (RRA), a screen by the side of the pitch, to view VAR incidents. 

When the review process is completed, the referee will gesture with a ‘TV signal’ and communicate the final decision.

Digital channels

In stadiums with big screens, if the VAR has been involved in changing a decision from the on-field referee, they may broadcast definitive video clips to help explain what has happened.

Premier League digital channels will be used when required to clarify any complicated VAR incidents, for example through the official Twitter account @premierleague.

Premier League Match Centre will provide in-match guidance for VAR-related queries from media and rights-holders.

The Premier League's data partner Opta will provide VAR information in their match feeds, which can be seen on the match commentaries.

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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