Premier League clubs have agreed to key changes to VAR for the 2020/21 season which will see the league operate in line with FIFA’s protocol.
In July 2020, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) transferred the responsibility of VAR to FIFA after inconsistencies in the Premier League’s application of the technology against Europe.
A Premier League statement confirmed their clubs had to agreed to important changes in VAR protocol for next season: “At the Premier League’s Annual General Meeting today, Shareholders agreed to rules relating to Video Assistant Referees (VAR) and substitute players for the 2020/21 season.
“Shareholders unanimously approved the implementation of VAR, in line with the full FIFA VAR protocol.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the important changes to VAR.
Referee Review Area
In 2019/20 there was an outcry from supporters and the media for referees to consult the on-field monitors.
However, Mike Riley, leader of the Premier League’s PGMOL group, was against the use of the monitors and it wasn’t until January, in the FA Cup, that they were first used in England.
Across Europe and in the Champions League the on-field monitors have been used to great effect and referees will now consult the monitors on a more frequent basis for subjective decisions, such as goals, red cards and penalty kicks.
Goalkeeper encroachment on penalty kicks
From next season, there will be no tolerance on goalkeeper encroachment from penalty kicks which will inevitably result in more retakes.
If a goalkeeper saves from 12 yards but has stepped off their goal line before the shot, VAR will order a retake of the penalty.
This will not apply if the penalty is missed without the interference of the goalkeeper; EG, the ball is hit over the bar.
Player encroachment on penalty kicks
Similarly, there will be no tolerance for player encroachment.
If a player is deemed inside the area when a penalty is missed VAR will order a retake.
However, as with goalkeepers, this will only apply if the player that has encroached is directly involved in the aftermath of the penalty, for instance, clearing the ball after the goalkeeper’s save or hitting the woodwork.
Keeping the flag down for tight marginal offside offences
Assistant Referees will be asked to keep their flag down for any goalscoring chances, to prevent any incorrect offside calls.
Unlike this season, where players have been told to ignore the flag and play to the whistle, Assistant Referees will not raise their flag and VAR will review any marginal offside decision to ensure the correct outcome is reached.
There will be no change to the offside rules and no tolerance levels will be allowed.