Major VAR rule shift leaving Leeds United in odd situation to be voted on by clubs after play-off final

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The Premier League’s 20 member clubs will vote on a motion put forward by Wolverhampton Wanderers to abolish VAR in England’s top flight from next season.

Premier League sides will vote on the matter at next month’s Annual General Meeting, which is scheduled to take place in Harrogate on June 6. 

According to The Athletic, Wolves believe the implementation of Video Assistant Referees is not in keeping ‘with the spirit of the game’ and have moved to scrap the system beginning next season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The league requires 14 of its member clubs to vote in favour of the motion in order to see VAR abandoned for the foreseeable future. 

Operation of the system has been a divisive topic since its introduction to English football in 2019. The aim was to increase accuracy and aid the decision-making of officials, however the use of VAR and several outcomes of refereeing decisions has become an arguably more contentious issue in discourse surrounding the top flight.

A Wolves statement obtained by The Athletic read: “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.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The upcoming vote places Leeds, currently fighting for a return to the Premier League, in a peculiar position should the Whites qualify for the play-off final. VAR will be in operation at Wembley Stadium on May 26 and there is the possibility a decision made or influenced by officials at Stockley Park may ultimately determine whether United are promoted to a division where the system responsible is then scrapped ten days later. 

Wolves’ motion follows Sweden’s Football Association opting to henceforth reject VAR due to fan sentiment in the Scandinavian country.

Leeds manager Daniel Farke shared his thoughts on VAR following United’s 0-0 draw with Norwich City last weekend. The system is not in place at the semi-final stage of this year’s Championship play-offs but will be used in the final.

“I have 12 apologising letters at home already during the season with offside goals and penalties not given," he said. “If we would’ve used VAR during this season, we wouldn’t be in the play-offs. We would’ve been promoted automatically.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Because we’re playing at the top level, small details make a difference. It changes the whole picture here.”

A Premier League statement, via The Athletic has reiterated the organisation’s continued support for VAR but acknowledges clubs’ constitutional right to vote in support of or against it.

“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.”

Related topics:

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.