16.05.2024 00:19 h

Premier League clubs to vote on scrapping VAR

Premier League clubs will be given the chance to scrap VAR from next season when they vote on the controversial review system at their annual general meeting next month.

Wolves have submitted a resolution to abolish VAR to the Premier League, triggering a vote of the top flight's 20 teams on June 6.

The Molineux club said VAR is "undermining the value of the Premier League brand" after another season marred by a host of debatable decisions.

In order for VAR to be axed by the Premier League, 14 of the 20 clubs will have to vote against it.

Wolves are expected to canvas other clubs in order to gain support before the meeting.

VAR was introduced in the Premier League in 2019 with the aim of helping referees avoid clear and obvious errors that had marred matches in the past.

But there have been numerous controversies surrounding the technology this season as Premier League managers and fans grow increasingly vocal in their disdain for the system.

"The introduction of VAR in 2019/20 was a decision made in good faith and with the best interests of football and the Premier League at its heart," a Wolves statement said.

"However, it has led to numerous unintended negative consequences that are damaging the relationship between fans and football, and undermining the value of the Premier League brand.

"The decision to table the resolution has come after careful consideration and with the utmost respect for the Premier League, PGMOL (body responsible for refereeing games) and our fellow competitors.

"Our position is that the price we are paying for a small increase in accuracy is at odds with the spirit of our game, and as a result we should remove it from the 2024/25 season onwards."

Wolves boss Gary O'Neil revealed he has regularly received apologetic phone calls from Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) chief Howard Webb after VAR decisions that went against his team.

The impact of VAR on goal celebrations, the length of time taken for checks and a lack of communication in the stadium are all issues that have irked supporters and cited by Wolves as reasons for scrapping the system.

Speaking after Newcastle had Anthony Gordon's penalty appeal rejected by VAR in their 3-2 defeat at Manchester United on Wednesday, Magpies boss Eddie Howe backed the bid to remove the system.

"I thought it was a penalty. I've always been in an era where the referee makes the decision and I'd still back that, even if it means we don't get penalties like today. I want more power with referees," he said.

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino was more cautious when he spoke after Wednesday's 2-1 win at Brighton.

"Next season we have to see if we can improve how we use VAR. For me it's not in or out, it's about improving how we use it," he said.

"It can be amazing to have it in the right way and VAR can be a fantastic tool to help the referees and us."

The Premier League also believes VAR is still a valuable tool.

The English top-flight, which is in regular dialogue with referees' governing body PGMOL, believes the number of incorrect decisions would increase without VAR which could damage the competition's reputation.

"The Premier League can confirm it will facilitate a discussion on VAR with our clubs at the Annual General Meeting next month," a Premier League spokesperson said.

"Clubs are entitled to put forward proposals at Shareholders' meetings and we acknowledge the concerns and issues around the use of VAR.

"However, the League fully supports the use of VAR and remains committed, alongside PGMOL, to make continued improvements to the system for the benefit of the game and fans."