What are the new VAR laws and will it actually change anything in the EPL?

It is now well-known that VAR (Video Assistant Refereeing) will be used in the Premier League next season, but the referees themselves are not very keen on having the decisions taken out of their hands. The refs boss, Mike Riley, has already made it clear that he does not want it to take too much power away from the referees and should only be used very rarely.

“It will take us two or three years to get this right,” said Riley on the BBC. “You look at the work in Italy, you look at the work in Spain, the Netherlands and in Germany latterly, and the more people get familiar with the process and work out how to harness it for the game I think the more comfortable people feel,”

“Where VAR has been implemented successfully in other competitions it’s been a very high bar,” he said.

“We don’t want VAR to come in and try to re-referee the game. We actually want it to protect the referees from making serious errors, the ones everybody’s goes: ‘Well, actually, that’s wrong.’

“If we keep to that really high bar there is more chance of keeping the flow of the game, the intensity of the game and people enjoying the spectacle of it rather than constantly referring to the video screen for changing decisions.”

To be honest the rules look very clear to me, and the VAR will only interfere if he is reasonably sure the ref has made a wrong decision, but only in four key areas, which was made very clear by FIFA

The role of the VAR is to assist the referee to determine whether there was an infringement that means a goal should not be awarded. As the ball has crossed the line, play is interrupted so there is no direct impact on the game.

The role of the VAR is to ensure that no clearly wrong decisions are made in conjunction with the award or non-award of a penalty kick.

The role of the VAR is to ensure that no clearly wrong decisions are made in conjunction with sending off or not sending off a player.

The referee cautions or sends off the wrong player, or is unsure which player should be sanctioned. The VAR will inform the referee so that the correct player can be disciplined.

That all seems very sensible to me, but no-one wants continuous interruptions during a game. During trials in the EPL last season there were eight VAR checks on average, with the average check lasting 29 seconds, usually with both teams holding their breaths on the outcome.

I was brought up to believe that the referees decision was final, and should be obeyed even if they are wrong. At least this VAR may stop the players surrounding the referee when they think he has made a bad decision, or will it just mean that they will be shouting at him to talk to the VAR’

It’s a difficult one….



  1. News generating Saliba deal done, final processing then official announcement soon.

    VAR is good for the game hope our club gets the positive side of it.

    1. Saliba purchase is good for 2020/2021 because of the loan agreement, but Arsenal might struggle again in this season if they cannot find a new CB

      Waiting for Tierney’s announcement now

    1. VAR is good for the game, it has its flaw but we are about to witness epl refs to take it to new level with their incompetence.

  2. Looking at some of the bad VAR decisions in the Women’s World Cup, I’m sure there will still be massive disputes to some of the decisions made. Off topic, good to see Nelson has been promoted to the first team squad and given permanent number 24.

  3. VAR is a must !…………I use it at home in the bedroom all the time for all sorts……started with goal line technology as the wife was not sure whether it was in or not !…….VAR has been an additional must in to attain whether amongst other things did she fake it or not !………..it can take an eternity replaying it backwrads and forwards and I`m still not sure so sometimes have to get a few extra opinions ! 😆

  4. The real problem arises when VAR is used too much, takes far too long and destroys the flow and the joyous highs(goals, pen awards) which are often ruled out on a centimetre or so, which is foolish. As much as poss should be left in the refs hands and I do not remotely share the common ref paranoia shown by such as Kenny Rolfe and others. I do NOT accept that refs cheat, though I know they make many mistakes. HANDBALL SHOULD BE CLEAR, IN THAT UNLESS IT IS CLEARLY HAND/ ARM TRAVELLING TOWARDS THE BALL, IT SHOULD NOT BE HANDBALL. The ridiculous farce of defenders holding both hands behind their back is caused entirely because the then handball which once all understood has been stupidly changed for the worse. We SHOULD revert to the old and proper version of hand ball; hand deliberately to ball , otherwise NOT handball. Sigh! Too much to hope for some common sense in rule makers! The fact they deem rules as “laws” shows clearly how much self regard these tin pot HITLERS HAVE FOR THEMSELVES AND HOW LITTLE THEY UNDERSTAND THE GAME AND WHAT FANS WANT.

    1. Jon, so you wouldn’t say Mike Dean as ever shown any bias against Arsenal in the past. You say I’m paranoid, I say you’re naive.

  5. VAR will definitely help the development3 of the game in England. The referees often took decisions with seemingly biased minds most especially in games involving the top teams. VAR will serve as a check to their excesses

  6. But in the beginning of the season it will definitely have a major impact on the flow of the game, because fans will put a lot pressure on the refs 2 almost check 4 everything. It should gradually go better and refs will eventually adapt.

    1. No English referees were deemed good enough to officiate at the last World Cup. Enough said.
      With VAR there are still bad decisions in cricket (particularly when it is left to captains to request and reviews are limited) so no system is perfect.

        1. Dan, but no limitations on requests for VAR there.
          In the current World Cup England benefited greatly from India and New Zealand not requesting VAR because of the limitation of one per innings.

    2. Good point Uthgunner, we all know what’s going to happen. everytime the Kop or the Stretford enders ask for VAR they’ll get it from our corrupt bias officials. This is still a human decision

    1. I predict Manchester United and Liverpool will get more favourable decisions from VAR than any other club.

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