VAR in Scottish football: All SPFL clubs to vote on Tuesday
Scottish clubs will vote on Tuesday on whether to introduce Video Assistant Referees.
All 42 Scottish Professional Football League clubs will participate and, if approved, the system could be implemented after December’s World Cup.
The resolution requires 75% of Premiership clubs, 75% of clubs in the Championship and 75% of League 1 and 2 clubs combined to vote in favour.
Premiership clubs will bear the cost of the technology on a sliding scale.
The 12 top-flight clubs will pay from between 5.63% to 16.29% each, based on where they finish in the table.
Information regarding the estimated likely costs of the system, which will only be used by Premiership clubs, has been relayed to SPFL members prior to the video conference vote.
A number of VAR trials have already taken place at under-age matches with more scheduled over the next few weeks.
Referee Nick Walsh spoke to BBC Scotland after being involved in an under-18s game using the technology.
“It was a good experience and it went really smoothly,” he said. “There was one penalty kick awarded by the referee that was checked and confirmed – and then a few other checks in the background.
“We’ve been training now for quite a long time behind the scenes. All the SPFL officials are nearing the end stages of VAR training. It’s certainly intense, but the early stages in our training has gone really well.”
Some clubs still hope the system – which Walsh believes will “increase the accuracy of decisions” – can be in place for the opening day of the 2022-23 Premiership campaign rather than after the World Cup, which ends on 18 December.
Who will pay?
Premiership clubs will pay the following percentage of the full cost depending on their league position.
VAR training for referees has been carried out through the Scottish FA.
How will it work?
The SFA system will be a mirror image of that already used in competitions run by world governing body Fifa, with the principle of “minimum interference, maximum benefit.”
All video assistant referees will be current or recently retired Category 1 officials, with the help of a minimum of six manned cameras in each game.
The question the VAR will ask is not “has the right decision been reached?” but “has the referee or his assistant made an obvious error?” and/or “has the referee missed a serious incident?”.
VAR can intervene is seven areas:
- For penalty box decisions/penalty kick or possible penalty kick offences.
- For goals scored – all goals scored, and the build up to the goal being scored, are checked under VAR.
- For straight red card offences, such as violent conduct and the denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity.
- For serious misapplications of the laws – such as a goal scored direct from a dropped ball or throw in.
- For cases of mistaken identity.
- At the taking of a penalty kick and at kicks from the penalty mark (e.g., for encroachment or goalkeeper moving from the goalline.)
- For serious, missed incidents in matches.
VAR will not intervene to ensure a player is booked for what may be seen as a reckless tackle, for faulty restarts of play, or to award a foul and a free-kick.