Interim Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is confident that the introduction of VAR in the 2019-20 season will have a minimal impact on the pace of matches as large groups of fans remain sceptical of the new technology.
Video Assistant Referees have been busy across the summer, overseeing contentious decisions in the Nations League, the Africa Cup of Nations and the Women’s World Cup, while the 2018-19 Champions League round of 16 saw it make its debut in European competition.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino likened VAR to a ‘car crash’ following decisions that went against Spurs, but Masters, after two years of preparing, says that referees in the English top flight will use the technology far less than has been seen so far.
“I have no doubt it will create some controversy because it is about the big decisions but we are prepared for that,” he told Sky Sports. “We have spent two years working up to this point, and we were committed to doing it in our heads for two years.
“We have been training and testing and making sure when it happens, particularly on Saturday afternoons when we have got multiple matches going on, that we have a number of VARs trained. We feel that is done and we are ready to launch it.
“I think fans want to see those clear and obvious errors cleared up, but they also want to see the game moved on quickly. You’re probably going to see the referees not use the review area – which is that camera to the side of the pitch – as often as you might see in other competitions.
“You have to operate within the guidelines that the IFAB (International Football Association Board) gives you to operate VAR. But, hopefully it will work and it will clear up those decisions and it won’t interrupt the fast-flowing pace of the Premier League.
“Those are basically our two objectives.”
The Premier League kicks back into action on August 9, with Liverpool hosting newly-promoted Norwich City to Anfield, while a headline clash between Manchester United and Frank Lampard’s Chelsea takes place two days later at Old Trafford.