Championship VAR stance learned by Preston North End, Sunderland, Stoke City and co

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VAR screen | Wolves via Getty Images
Premier League clubs are voting on the technology

There will be no discussion, or vote, among Championship clubs about introducing VAR into the second tier next season, according to the Press Association.

That is due to witnessing the Premier League’s experience of it, which has contributed to a collective lack of enthusiasm among Championship clubs - along with cost considerations. The Football Supporters’ Association posted details of its summer 2023 survey on Thursday morning, which included questions to the respondents around attitudes to VAR.

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It found only one in 20 (5.5 per cent) of fans who had experienced VAR in stadiums rated their experience of it as good or very good. Almost two-thirds (63.3 per cent) were against its continued use, with 91.9 per cent criticising the length of time taken to make decisions and 95 per cent saying the removal of spontaneity from goal celebrations was a chief concern.

The Premier League says it fully supports the continued use of VAR, but acknowledges the need for improvements. The league’s chief football officer, Tony Scholes - former PNE chief executive - admitted in February that the in-stadium experience of VAR was “nowhere near good enough”. Scholes - who was in his post at Preston from 1999 to 2002 - said the league was also “on a journey” towards being able to broadcast live audio.

Currently, the laws of the game forbid it - but the league is working with the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to progress the issue. Clubs also voted to introduce semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) in the autumn, which league sources say will speed up the average VAR check for offside by 31 seconds.

The league also points to the greater number of correct decisions since VAR’s introduction. In the final season before it came in, 2018-19, the league said 82 per cent of ‘key match incident’ decisions were correct. That figure with VAR assistance is now 96 per cent.

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