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Premier League clubs to vote on scrapping VAR after Wolves proposal

Premier League clubs are set to vote on the future of VAR at their annual general meeting next month after a proposal to abolish the video assistant referee system was tabled by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Wolves formally submitted their proposal to the Premier League calling for VAR to be scrapped this summer and there will be an opportunity for all 20 clubs to vote for or against VAR when they gather in Harrogate on June 6.

VAR has been used in the English top-flight since 2019 but has persistently been controversial with the current season seeing a plethora of incidents leading to increased criticism of the processes involved.

Some teams have even questioned the competition’s integrity because of it. Wolves’ statement read: “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.

“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 and our fellow competitors.

“There is no blame to be placed – we are all just looking for the best possible outcome for football – and all stakeholders have been working hard to try and make the introduction of additional technology a success.

“However, 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.”

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

“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.”

All top-flight clubs have a constitutional right to put forward any proposal they feels is necessary for the Premier League and need a two thirds majority to pass them.

The current Premier League board do not feel this is the right way forward and believe that removing VAR would increase incorrect decisions in the game.

It also thinks the void left, having removed VAR, would potentially place even greater criticism on on-field decisions made by match officials and increase frustration for supporters.

The league points to innovations such as semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) and in-stadium VAR announcements as evidence of the efforts being made to improve the system.

Since VAR was brought in five years ago, the number of correct decisions made in games has increased from 82 per cent, prior to its introduction, to 96 per cent this season.

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