VAR looking to be much more ‘lenient’ this season

VAR is set to be much more ‘lenient’ ahead of the new Premier League season as the league’s officials look to create a more ‘free-flowing game’.

The use of the Video Assistant Referee technology has been widely criticised since its first introduction into the Premier League, with the stop-start nature of games and marginal offsides amongst the major criticisms of its usage.


As reported in The Athletic, major changes are set to be introduced ahead of the 2021/22 season which will hope to “move the dial back towards a pre-VAR world”.

Following consultation by Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) with the league’s stakeholders, including clubs, players, coaches and fans, several changes are set to be implemented ahead of the forthcoming campaign.

Changes will include thicker lines to assess offside decisions in a bid to eliminate controversial marginal calls, with fractional offsides having been a major gripe of the Premier League’s stakeholders.

The thicker lines will replace the single-pixel lines previously used and where lines overlap a player will be deemed onside, a situation which would have resulted in an additional 19 goals last season and hands the advantage back to the attacking player.

There will also be a ‘higher threshold’ for fouls to win a penalty with referees encouraged to follow a ‘three-step’ approach to decisions, with officials urged to consider the degree of contact by the defender, the consequence of the contact and the motivation of the attacker.

It is hoped the changes will prevent players exaggerating contact inside the penalty area.

Amongst the other changes include providing linesmen with a greater scope to flag for clear offsides, following the frustrations of the delayed flag system when infringement is clear.

Following the success of officiating at Euro 2020, the Premier League is hoping to follow in the tournament’s footsteps and make changes to ensure VAR benefits and does not hinder the game.

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