Ahead of the 2023/24 Premier League season starting on 11 August, here are some features you will see for the first time.
This season will be the first whole campaign where Premier League officials will operate Video Assistant Referees (VAR) from a state-of-the-art bespoke facility at Stockley Park.
Investment via the Elite Referee Development Plan (ERDP), which is enabling enhancements across all aspects of refereeing, helped to build this new home, designed to provide an elite environment for VAR teams to best support the on-field officials.
The facility includes preparation and debrief areas for pre and post-match and the VAR Hub, as well as an elite conditioning space and a designated recovery area for officials to maintain their optimum physical training in line with schedules.
After consultation with football stakeholders, Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the referees' governing body, worked closely with Instinct Laboratory, IMG and Populous on the creation and design, technical and build of the facility.
“It's a cutting-edge and completely bespoke elite-performance facility, an environment where the best possible outcomes can be achieved in the VAR space to benefit the game," PGMOL's chief refereeing officer Howard Webb said.
“It's not only the perfect space for our officials to work when they are acting as VAR or AVAR though, there are other areas for our officials to focus pre-game and debrief post-game, whilst there’s a gym and a recovery area, as well as a training centre, both for VAR work and for general refereeing development.
“Good officiating always starts on the field of play and we expect good performance, but VAR plays its part to ensure that outcomes of games are not decided by clear and obvious errors – we want VAR to be a positive influence.”
Also in this series
Part 1: Nike Flight ball
Part 2: Number and font styles on shirts
Part 3: Premier League's 51st club
Part 4: Match officials
Part 5: Return of mid-season player break
Part 6: Extra Champions League place
Part 7: Applications of the Laws of the Game