Bad news City fans. VAR is going nowhere

PUBLISHED: 05:55 03 January 2020

Teemu Pukki put the ball in the back of the net, but it was chalked off by the VAR officials for offside. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Teemu Pukki put the ball in the back of the net, but it was chalked off by the VAR officials for offside. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

VAR in the Premier League is here to stay this season, despite clubs possessing the ability to vote out the technology should they wish.

A Norwich fan makes his feelings known about VAR at the end of the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
01/01/2020A Norwich fan makes his feelings known about VAR at the end of the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 01/01/2020

Norwich City's last two top flight games have been marred by VAR interventions, with Teemu Pukki's goal against Tottenham controversially ruled out for offside and Crystal Palace's equaliser on New Year's Day allowed to stand, after Connor Wickham's close range finish was initially adjudged to be offside by the assistant referee.

Canaries' head coach, Daniel Farke, and large sections of the Carrow Road support have both voiced their frustration with the roll out of the technology for the first time this season in the English top flight.

The Premier League and the referees' body, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), have come in for heavy criticism from fans and media.

However it is understood the Premier League have received no indication from member clubs they wish it to be removed from the game. Instead of scrapping VAR in its current form there is a concerted attempt by the game's powerbrokers to work together in an attempt to improve the technology.

At the last shareholders' meeting in November, PGMOL chief Mike Riley accepted improvement was required.

In that same meeting, the Premier League and PGMOL committed to improve the consistency of decisions, speeding up processes and increasing communication to fans. That saw the recent announcement that supporters would get increased information should a VAR screen be displayed on the big screens within stadiums.

The Premier League have declined numerous interview requests from Archant in recent days but there is an acceptance of the issues surrounding VAR at the highest level, with rugby used as an example of how long it can take to get the processes right.

Bosses at the Premier League also believe offside decisions are being awarded in line with the International Football Association Board (IFAB) protocol, with the 'clear and obvious' threshold set for subjective decisions only.

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Conor Coady (centre) and Leander Dendoncker appeal to Referee Anthony Taylor after VAR disallows Pedro Neto's goal during the Premier League match at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 29, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or Wolverhampton Wanderers' Conor Coady (centre) and Leander Dendoncker appeal to Referee Anthony Taylor after VAR disallows Pedro Neto's goal during the Premier League match at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 29, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

IFAB, the body that determines the laws of the game, has publicly questioned the Premier League's application of video technology and VAR is expected to be on the agenda at their next scheduled meeting on February 29.

However any proposed changes would not be enforced until the end of the season for fears over the integrity of the domestic competition.

Furthermore, reports of a Fifa sanction for the Premier League are understood to be wide of the mark, despite claims the international governing body was cranking up the pressure on the competition's organisers.

Technological interference has been a controversial addition to top-flight football in England, with the interventions creating frustration on the terraces due to the lengthy stoppages being inserted into the game.

City fans voice their displeasure at VAR through banners. Picture: AlongComeNorwichCity fans voice their displeasure at VAR through banners. Picture: AlongComeNorwich

Some supporters have bemoaned the effect the VAR checks are having on their enjoyment of the game, with the spontaneous moments of celebration being tarnished as supporters wait for a goal to be permitted by the VAR officials.

Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell admitted that was also the reason for his muted celebration after scoring in the early stages of the 1-1 midweek daw against Crystal Palace.

"It's a strange feeling, we get told that you put the ball away if you can, regardless of whether the linesman has got his flag up or not," Cantwell said.

"I put it in and there was an uncertainty because I hadn't had a chance to look across the line, so I didn't really know, I knew it came off the defender so I thought if they did check it, it should be okay - but you never really know what's been seen from the bird's eye view."

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