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Video Assistant Refereeing Kicks Off

Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR) made its first appearance in a competitive club match in England as Brighton hosted Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup last night.

The new technology was almost brought into play as Palace players felt a review process should have taken place following suggestions of a handball from goalscorer Murray. However, referee Andre Marriner spoke with the VAR team before deciding it was not necessary to consult the pitch-side monitor, awarding the late goal to end the game Brighton 2 – 1 Crystal Palace.

Tomorrow’s (Wednesday) Carabao Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Arsenal will also feature VAR as part of a trial, agreed by the FA, Premier League and EFL.

The technology which will see video officials watch the fixtures, gives the on-field referee the option to review certain incidents using a pitch-side screen. Through this, “match-changing” errors can be corrected, and incidents can be reviewed before the referee states whether their original decision should remain, or be changed.

One of the main arguments against VAR technology is the slowing down of the pace of the game, however with only the referee able to initiate a review, it looks unlikely it will be used often enough in fixtures to disrupt gameplay.

This is only the beginning for VAR, as a two-year trial of the technology was approved by the International Football Association Board last year.