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What's new in 2020/21: Application of VAR

10 Sep 2020
Crystal Palace v Sheffield United - Premier League

Officials are set to use the Referee Review Area more, while there will be no tolerance for goalkeepers coming off their line to save penalties

We look at the new things to keep an eye out for in the Premier League in 2020/21.

Use of VAR

Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be involved in the decision-making process during all Premier League matches for the second season, after the system made its debut in 2019/20.

In July this year, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) transferred the responsibility of VAR to FIFA.

And at the Premier League's Annual General Meeting in August, Shareholders unanimously approved its implementation in line with the full FIFA VAR protocol for the 2020/21 season.

This campaign there will be a few differences to how VAR was used last season.

Referee Review Area (RRA)

There will now be increased use of the RRA, which will be used for subjective decisions in three key areas: goals, red cards and penalty kicks.

Goalkeeper encroachment on penalties

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 penalties

This 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.

Flagging for tight offside calls

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 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.

Green and red lines for tight offside calls

For tight offside calls, the VAR can use crosshair technology, drawing two lines that are positioned for the defender and attacker.

These lines can also take into account parts of the body that are off the ground, such as a player's shoulder, which is shown as a 3D vertical line.

In the Premier League, the whole process is displayed to broadcasters so fans can see in real time how a decision is reached.

This season, when the VAR uses the crosshair technology, the attacking offside line will turn green or red depending on whether the player is onside or offside. A graphic will also show the decision.

Attacker shown to be onside
VAR offside green line
Attacker shown to be offside
VAR offside graphic
Also in this series

Part 1: Match officials
Part 2: Nike Flight ball
Part 3: Maiden fixtures
Part 5: Handball Laws
Part 6: Premier League Anthem

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