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Statement on VAR and substitute players

6 Aug 2020
VAR big screen Man City cropped

Shareholders unanimously approve the implementation of VAR for 2020/21, while the clubs agree to revert to three substitutions per match

At the Premier League’s Annual General Meeting today, Shareholders agreed to rules relating to Video Assistant Referees (VAR) and substitute players for the 2020/21 season.

Shareholders unanimously approved the implementation of VAR, in line with the full FIFA VAR protocol.

Clubs also agreed to revert back to using up to three substitute players per match, with a maximum of seven substitutes on the bench.

How VAR will change in 2020/21

In July 2020, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) transferred the responsibility of VAR to FIFA. IFAB will continue to work closely with FIFA, especially in terms of the VAR protocol, related Laws and qualification requirements.

There are five key areas that highlight the differences in implementation of VAR in 2020/21:

  • Referee Review Area (RRA): Increased use of the RRA, which will be used for subjective decisions in the three key areas - goals, red cards and penalty kicks
  • Goalkeeper encroachment on penalty kicks: The protocol does not allow for tolerance levels, so if the goalkeeper saves a penalty and his foot is over the line then VAR will advise it is retaken. If the goalkeeper is off his line and the ball hits the post or goes over, it won’t be retaken unless the 'keeper has a material impact on the kick being missed
  • Player encroachment on penalty kicks: It is now judged on any part of a player’s body that is on the ground when the kick is taken. So if any part of the foot is on the penalty area or arc line it is encroachment. The player must still have a material impact on the outcome of the kick
  • Offsides: The protocol does not allow for tolerance levels
  • Keeping the flag down for tight marginal offside offences: When an immediate goalscoring opportunity is likely to occur, the assistant referee will keep their flag down until the passage of play is completed. Once the goalscoring opportunity is complete, either a goal is scored or the chance is gone, the assistant will then raise the flag to indicate the initial offence. If a goal is scored the VAR will then review the offside judgement

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