VAR’s Carrow Road debut brings new element to Norwich City games
PUBLISHED: 11:45 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:30 31 July 2019
Carrow Road spectators experienced VAR for the first time during Norwich City’s friendly defeat to Atalanta, with the stadium’s first trial of the video assistant referee system clearly in use.
VAR is being introduced to the Premier League after being tested during last season, after reasonably successful use at the World Cup last year and introduction to other leagues.
It's expected there will be some teething problems as officials, players, clubs and fans get used to the support for the on-pitch officials, checking for 'clear and obvious' errors.
Premier League guidance has explained: "VAR looks at four key areas: all goals scored; penalty kicks, whether they're awarded or not; direct red-card offences - not second yellow cards but straight reds; and any case of mistaken identity."
When Atalanta claimed the lead in the 62nd minute the celebrations of Luis Muriel were put on hold as referee Peter Bankes held his finger to his earpiece while VAR official David Coote was checking the replays - presumably for offside - and 45 seconds later the small pocket of visiting fans were able to celebrate properly.
Bankes had his finger to his ear again in the 69th minute after Canaries substitute Dennis Srbeny was chopped down by Jose Luis Palomino, sparking a bout of aggressive pushing between the two and heads coming together.
Both were spoken to be the referee but it was a full 90 seconds before City's free-kick could be taken while the VAR check took place, with Kenny McLean and Emi Buendia looking increasingly frustrated. Both Srbeny and Palomino got away with it but that may have been different in a proper match.
MATCHDAY RECAP: Norwich City 1 Atalanta 4 - Carrow Road return ends in a mess
Once VAR is fully up to speed the big screen will be used to communicate that process in real time at Carrow Road, with City's chief operating officer Ben Kensell explaining in Tuesday's programme: "Today will see a Carrow Road first: the use of VAR. It's our first opportunity to trial it ahead of the Premier League.
"We have a process in place for the big screen that we are happy with, but as with any trial we will be using tonight's game and Saturday's match against Toulouse to iron out any teething problems.
"Like every other Premier League side, we want to ensure our in-stadium communication for VAR decisions is as informative as it possibly can be. We're confident that, working alongside the Premier League, we've come up with a smooth process, but we're also realistic that VAR divides opinion and that there are likely to be improvements as the season goes on."