VAR’s role in the upcoming 2019/20 EPL SEASON

We’ve already seen some questionable calls with VAR and its use in the Women’s World Cup, the Mens World Cup last year and the most recent Champions League.

Now it’s time for the almighty VAR to descend into the Premier League. And no doubt it’ll piss a lot of fans off when goal celebrations become meaningless.

So here’s a quick breakdown of the official way VAR will run in the Premier League:

1) OFFSIDE

If a player’s two front teeth are ahead of a defenders, it’s going to adjudged as offside. Yep, the incredibly tight calls will not go unscrutinised! And we usually see them once a goal has been scored. Of course, it raises the question; why didn’t the referee’s assistant flag it in the first place?!

2) MISTAKEN IDENTITY

This one’s minor, and I don’t think we’ve seen an incident of it yet. Sending off the wrong player for example. VAR can step in and correct any potential mistakes made by the referee. Which Arsenal fan remembers the player sent off by mistake in their game against Chelsea back in 2014?

3) RED CARDS

If a player is awarded a straight red card, the VAR overlords can advise if the correct decision was made and suggest it be overturned if necessary. Again, I can’t recall a recent incident. Similarly, if a player deserved a red card and got away with it (with just a yellow or a warning), VAR can suggest a red card instead.

4) PENALTY DECISIONS

Any potential foul that is committed inside the box will be reviewed. We all saw Alex Morgan receive studs to the shoulder in the Women’s World Cup Final. Moments like that will have a similar review. On the flip side, if the ref awards a penalty and it isn’t, VAR can overturn it.

One of the more common fouls inside the penalty box is…

5) HANDBALL

Save “the best” till last. The handball rule that saw Moussa Sissoko concede a UCL Final Penalty, and Danny Rose a victim in another UCL game against Manchester City. As we all know the rule, the arms should not be in an unnatural position during play. If you attempt to make a play with your hands, it’s a foul. What’s still a grey area is when it deflects off a person’s arm after hitting another body part. Or when an opposing player strikes the ball at such a force, that’s it’s impossible for a defender to move his arm in time. Officials have even admitted the rules are adapting as VAR comes into use (!!). So expect the same level of attention from VAR, but perhaps different final decisions from the refs…

For  more information on VAR, check out FIFA’s webpage on it:

https://football-technology.fifa.com/en/media-tiles/video-assistant-referee-var/

-JR

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