VAR Changes: Premier League begins plans to introduce new technology after intense backlash

Referee Mike Dean Watching VAR
Referee Mike Dean checks the VAR machine

The English Premier League is understood to have taken steps to make some small changes, though significant, to how the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) works.

The VAR has been dogged by controversy since its introduction in 2019, with more than 10 cases being recorded this season alone.

The referee’s body, Professional Game Match Officials Limited(PGMOL), has been forced to issue a number of apologies, most notably the Luis Diaz goal that was chalked off for offside and the Andre Onana incident against Wolves on match day one.

As The Telegraph now reports, plans are underway to introduce the semi-automated offside in place as early as next season.

The semi-automated offside technology

The technology has been in place and has already been trialed in major FIFA competitions such as the World Cup. The Premier League has so far refused to adopt it, but in light of recent dubious calls, they might be forced to change their stance.

According to FIFA’s website, the semi-automated offside “uses 12 dedicated tracking cameras mounted underneath the roof of the stadium to track the ball and up to 29 data points of each individual player 50 times per second, calculating their exact position on the pitch. The 29 collected data points include all limbs and extremities that are relevant for making offside calls.”

The process is much faster than the current technology in use.

What technology does the VAR currently use?

As previously explained by Sports Brief, the officials use the hawk-eye’s virtual offside line technology to arrive at decisions. This technology is broken down into the gridline and the crosshair.

The former is straightforward, with a line being drawn on the last defender. Any opposing player who is over the line headed towards the goal is deemed offside.

But at times, the gridline fails to outrightly differentiate whether the attacking player is over the line or in a perfect and legal position – enter the crosshair.


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