Premier League teams vote resoundingly to keep VAR after Hatters boss admits he would 'bin' it

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Wolves suffer resounding defeat in bid to see system scrapped

Premier League clubs have voted 19-1 in favour of keeping video assistant referees (VAR) next season, a system that Hatters boss Rob Edwards had declared recently he would ‘bin’ had he been given the chance to choose himself.

Wolverhampton Wanderers had triggered a vote on the use of VAR for the 2024-25 campaign after formally submitting a resolution to the Premier League in May, declaring it had ‘led to numerous unintended negative consequences that are damaging the relationship between fans and football, and undermining the value of the Premier League brand.’

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A statement on why they decided to do so said: “After five seasons of VAR in the Premier League, it is time for a constructive and critical debate on its future. 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.”

VAR awarded Everton a penalty during their 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road last season - pic: Liam SmithVAR awarded Everton a penalty during their 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road last season - pic: Liam Smith
VAR awarded Everton a penalty during their 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road last season - pic: Liam Smith

Although Town won’t have VAR in use at any of their games next season following relegation to the Championship, asked whether he wanted to see VAR remain, Edwards had said: “It’s a really difficult one. I would have VAR for offsides, whether it’s the artificial intelligence or whatever, the quick one you can go, right, bang, offside.

"I think everything else I would scrap now, that’s what I’d do. I think things are taking too long and not being able to celebrate goals and things like that, it’s taking some of the fun away. As the season’s gone on, I’ve probably shifted more from where I’ve tried to be with it and thinking this is the way it’s going, to, black and white stuff that we just know and we can sort out quickly, but other than that no, I would say bin it.

“I know it can come down to millimetres and then you also you can look at which fraction of a second did he actually touch the ball, you can look at that as well, miniscule stuff. If you’re taking minutes and minutes to decide on an offside, that’s tough and not what we want to keep a free-flowing entertaining game. I haven’t had too many when I’ve celebrated and gone ‘oh no,’ but as the season has gone on it’s probably made me not celebrate and then check everything first before maybe doing it. It just takes a little bit of the emotion away from it doesn’t it.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Asked on the Luton News Twitter page if they would keep VAR, Town fans were clearly mixed with their views, as @LTFC_Dave said: “In its current format, get rid of it. If its used properly, it can work. @philhull56: It has a place but needs a very major overhaul. Look to rugby union and cricket as the templates.”

@R_JLife: “Get rid asap. Kills the game and robs the joy of any goal.” @hattersfan: “I hate it. Can’t celebrate any goal without waiting for VAR to allow it or not.” @justrapsaking: “I wouldn't keep it, but i would be in favour of an automated offside system a bit like goal-line technology.” @dave_trill82: “Lets go back to the Sheff Utd game 2 penalties not a single person on the ground appealed for. Waiting for the goal to be given against Liverpool. Ruins the game, should be taken away never to be seen again.”

@AyresyJ: “Didn't enjoy waiting for the goal to be given at Burnley!” @andyhawkington: “Not in it's current state. There's 100% a need for VAR and have seen it work so effectively in other sports (e.g. Rugby). For whatever reason, they just can't get the application of it right.”

However, @BrixtonHatter said: “If/when we get rid of VAR, refs will miss clear handballs, fouls and penalties, and everyone will want it back again.” @JM11_GEE: “You don't scrap things cause it ain't perfect. You improve and get better at it. VARs objective is to irradiate poor decisions and ensure league position credibility. Currently it's not doing that 100%. Going back to pundit only analysis after the game is a backward step.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

@MegaDarkFlames: “What it needs is to be revised and worked on. It's not the system that is at fault, but the people. There needs to be better officiating and more training in how VAR works, and not be swayed by personal bias." @Larrick023: “It’s the people not the technology. Include a lack of defined processes and fix those things and it can work well. Baby and bath water spring to mind.”

After today’s vote which was an overwhelming one to keep VAR, a Premier League spokesperson said: “While VAR produces more accurate decision-making, it was agreed that improvements should be made for the benefit of the game and supporters. As part of thorough discussions at the Annual General Meeting, it was agreed that PGMOL, the Premier League and clubs all have important roles to play in improving the system and its reputation."

These will include, reducing delays to the game through the introduction of semi-automated offside technology and improving the fans experience with in-stadium announcements from referees after a post-VAR change of decision and where possible, an enhanced offering of big screen replays to include all VAR interventions.

Having lost their appeal, Wolves reacted by releasing another statement which added: “While we are disappointed with the outcome of the vote on the future of VAR at today's Annual General Meeting, we acknowledge and accept the decision made by our fellow Premier League clubs and we are reassured that the Premier League is taking the concerns of clubs and supporters seriously.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We welcome the commitment to improve VAR, particularly in areas that address delays, consistency and fan experience. While we still believe that Premier League football would be superior without VAR, we think that these improvements are crucial for the integrity of the game and for enhancing the overall matchday experience for our supporters.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.