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The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system is staying in the Premier League.

Premier League clubs voted 19-1 in favor of keeping VAR on Thursday after Wolverhampton’s motion to scrap the technology forced a vote at the league’s annual general meeting.

The Premier League is pledging to improve the performance of the technology after the VAR system was heavily criticized throughout the 2023-24 campaign amid a series of controversial decisions and mistakes.

“While VAR produces more accurate decision-making, it was agreed that improvements should be made for the benefit of the game and supporters,” read a statement.

Wolves triggered the vote after submitting a resolution to the Premier League in May to decide on the technology’s future ahead of the 2024-25 season. Wolverhampton were the team most negatively impacted by VAR in the Premier League last season, according to ESPN’s Dale Johnson.

However, the West Midlands club failed to gain support in the build-up to Thursday’s annual general meeting, BBC Sport reports.

Clubs at the meeting reaffirmed intentions to introduce semi-automated offsides this fall, and the Premier League announced that in-game VAR announcements – explaining VAR decisions to fans inside stadiums – will take place this upcoming season.

Additionally, the Premier League’s 20 teams agreed to four other action points to help improve VAR:

  • Maintaining a high threshold for VAR intervention to deliver greater consistency and less interruptions to the flow of the game
  • Working with PGMOL on the implementation of more robust VAR training to improve consistency, including an emphasis on speed of process while preserving accuracy
  • Increasing transparency and communication around VAR – including expanded communications from Premier League Match Centre and through broadcast programming such as “Match Officials Mic’d Up”
  • The delivery of a fan and stakeholder VAR communication campaign, which will seek to further clarify VAR’s role in the game to participants and supporters

Despite several high-profile incidents, the Premier League says that VAR is improving each year. There were 38 VAR mistakes in 2022-23, a 21% reduction compared to the season prior, ESPN’s Johnson adds.

The Premier League concluded Thursday’s statement by saying it would “continue to lobby IFAB to allow greater flexibility in the Laws of the Game to allow live video and audio broadcast during VAR reviews.”


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