Premier League clubs to vote on scrapping VAR from next season

Premier League clubs will vote on whether to scrap the video assistant referee (VAR) from the start of next season following a proposal put forward by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The vote is set to be held at the annual general meeting between all 20 clubs on June 6, with Wolves requiring 14 clubs to vote in favor of the resolution for it to pass. Any of the league’s 20 clubs can put forward a proposal to be voted on.

Wolves have been irked by a number of refereeing decisions this season, leading chairman Jeff Shi to question whether VAR – which was introduced to the Premier League at the start of the 2019-20 season – is “really what football wants or needs” after the team had a goal controversially ruled out against West Ham last month.

“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,” Wolves said in a statement sent to CNN.

“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.”

Additionally, Wolves listed a number of issues with VAR which it says are “damaging the relationship between fans and football” and “undermining the value of the Premier League brand.”

These include VAR’s impact on fans celebrating goals, “frustration and confusion” in stadiums due to lengthy VAR checks, continued errors by officials despite the replay system and the “erosion of authority” for on-field referees.

Wolves added that VAR is “fuelling completely nonsensical allegations of corruption,” causing an “erosion of trust and reputation” for the Premier League.

However, the Premier League said in a statement that it is against the resolution.

“The Premier League can confirm it will facilitate a discussion on VAR with our clubs at the Annual General Meeting next month,” a spokesperson told CNN. “Clubs are entitled to put forward proposals at Shareholders’ meetings and we acknowledge the concerns and issues around the use of VAR.

Wolves listed the negative impact on fan experiences in the stadium as a reason to scrap the technology. - Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images
Wolves listed the negative impact on fan experiences in the stadium as a reason to scrap the technology. - Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images

“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.”

VAR is used in all major European leagues. However, Sweden recently became the most high-profile country to reject VAR after Swedish football association chairman Fredrik Reinfeldt said last month the technology would not be implemented this season after clubs voiced their opposition to its introduction.

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