Monday, June 17, 2024

Premier League clubs to vote on scrapping VAR and what 2023-24 table would look like without it

Premier League clubs will vote on whether or not to scrap the video assistant referee (VAR) system next month after Wolverhampton Wanderers formally submitted a resolution, triggering a vote on the topic. For the resolution to pass, it will require 14 of 20 clubs — a two-thirds majority — to vote in favor of removing the technology-based system. They will vote on the measure on June 6, when the clubs will meet for the Premier League’s annual general meeting.

Wolves’ request comes after another season of controversy around VAR, including the bizarre communication error that led to Liverpool’s goal being called back in their 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur in September and Nottingham Forest questioning the integrity of the video assistant referee assigned to their match in their 2-0 loss to Everton last month.

The complaint from Wolves includes “frustration and confusion inside stadiums due to lengthy VAR checks and poor communication,” as well as “a more hostile atmosphere with protests, booing of the Premier League anthem and chants against VAR,” per Sky Sports. The club also argues that there is an “overreach of VAR’s original purpose to correct and clear and obvious mistakes, now overanalyzing subjective decisions and compromising the game’s fluidity and integrity.”

Wolves did not openly complain about any potential decisions they felt unfairly went against them, but by some accounts, calls have not necessarily gone in their favor. ESPN estimates that the team lost 17 points in VAR-related decisions over the last five years, more than anyone else by a wide margin. Whether or not it impacted teams in a notable way is up for debate, though — measures that Wolves would actually be three places lower than their current 13th-place standing if there was no VAR this season. In addition, the battles for the title, berths in European competition and relegation seem almost entirely unaffected by VAR-related decisions this season.

How Premier League table would look without VAR decisions

1. Man City, 88 points (–)
2. Arsenal, 85 points (-1)
3. Liverpool, 76 points (-3)
4. Aston Villa, 75 points (+7)
5. Tottenham, 63 points (–)
6. Newcastle, 57 points (–)
7. Chelsea, 57 points (-3)
8. Man United, 52 points (-5)
9. West Ham, 49 points (-3)
10. Fulham, 49 points (+5)
11. Brighton, 47 points (-1)
12. Bournemouth, 47 points (-1)
13. Crystal Palace, 44 points (-2)
14. Everton, 43 points (+3)
15. Brentford, 41 points (+2)
16. Wolves, 40 points (-6)
17. Nottingham Forest, 34 points (+5)
18. Burnley, 26 points (+2)
19. Luton Town, 25 points (-1)
20. Sheffield United, 13 points (-3)

Despite the perceived unpopularity, the VAR system seems to have the support of a majority of Premier League clubs, per the BBC. That includes Liverpool, despite calling for “a review with full transparency” after the incident against Tottenham in October.

The system also has the backing of the Premier League, per a statement provided to The Athletic.

“Clubs are entitled to put forward proposals at shareholders’ meetings and we acknowledge the concerns and issues around the use of VAR,” the league said. “However, the league fully supports the use of VAR and remains committed, alongside PGMOL, to make continued improvements to the system for the benefit of the game and fans.”

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