First the bad news , at least as far s some fans of the Premier League is concerned. VAR is here to stay.
The video technology which helps decide whether goals should stand or not, as well as helps with other on-field decisions such as potential red card incidents, will be used for the third season beginning next month when Brentford and Arsenal kick the new campaign off.
The good news is that those in charge of it have listed to the criticism and have promised improvement this time round.
It is unlikely that the Premier League can get to that standard for the season ahead, but there have been concrete changes announced to make things better.
VAR, after all, was meant to eliminate controversy, and make the game more transparent and open.
Instead, it has had the opposite effect or some, provoking endless debates about whether somebody’s armpit or fingernail was offside, with sometimes seemingly endless waits for a decision to be made by unseen officials sat in an office on the outskirts of London.
One of the biggest joys in football is scoring a gaol but people have become afraid to celebrate for fear of it being subsequently ruled out for something that might have happened much earlier in the move and may have had no impact on the final outcome.
One of the pleasures from watching the Euros this summer was the fact that, although VAR was used, it was almost invisible. Checks were made quickly and unobtrusively and many fans may not have realised that the technology was in use at all.
One of those, which was approved by soccer’s law making body, the International Football Association Board in March, is the use oi wider offside lines. These should help eliminate some of the more marginal calls that anger players, managers, and fans alike, and should give more of an advantage to the attacking team.
Nor will views be shown the lines calibrated on the screen, which were intended to aid transparency but ended up causing added confusion.
Another change to the law that will help concerns accidental handball. No longer will a handball where there is no intent and which leads to a goal being scored or a chance created be considered an offence.
This was first introduced during this summer’s Euros, and the tournament was notable for the very few contentious handball decisions that arose.
One thing that helped officials reach decisions faster during the Euros was the sheer number of them. In addition to the head VAR official there was also an assistant VAR referee, and one specifically tasked to look at offsides. In addition, there were three other operators and a VAR support assistant.
The Premier League from their office in Stockley Park,. Will continue to involve only three people – a VAR, and assistant VAR, and a repay operator, although they do now have a dedicated VAR official for the first time in the form of now retired referee Lee Mason.
Nobody is pretending VAR is perfect yet. However, if it can be a little less awful in the Premier League season ahead, that would be a start!
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.