Down with the VAR – or you’ll lose the fans! Nearly half of Premier League football supporters say they will attend fewer matches if the despised video technology continues… and 95% say the delays it causes make it less fun to watch
- A damning study on VAR has shown that the technology is universally unloved
- Nearly half of Premier League fans would attend fewer matches if VAR were present
- 95% of respondents say delays make watching less fun
- Premier League VAR chief Neil Swarbrick says feedback will be taken into account
A scathing study into the use of VAR in football has found that nearly half of Premier League supporters will see fewer matches if the controversial technology is maintained next season.
The survey, conducted by the Football Supporters’ Association, found that 44 percent of match fans would stop watching their teams in action, with a series of VAR incidents sparking outrage.
Surprisingly, 95 percent of respondents also found that the VAR has made the experience of a match less enjoyable since its introduction in 2019.
Nearly half of Premier League fans say they would attend fewer matches if VAR were maintained
There is also no notable difference for those who usually watch fixtures on TV. In fact, a massive 94 percent claim the VAR has had a negative impact. In particular, it has been criticized for the delays it causes in decision-making.
Also in the firing line is the nightmarish ability to cut celebrations after a goal by picking up a potential offside or foul.
More than 33,000 supporters took part in the FSA survey and the results will be used as part of the top research on VAR. The consultations, which are already underway, aim to resolve the technology’s shortcomings for next year.
VAR has proved controversial since its introduction and is universally panned by competition-goers
Now that the results are out, FSA Vice-President Tom Greatex said: “There is a clear feeling among fans that VAR has ruined the spontaneity of goal-celebration and taken away a lot of our best matchday moments.
“We hope that the Premier League and refereeing body PGMOL will hear the voice of the fans and take urgent steps to improve a system that does not deliver clear and understandable decisions in stadiums.”
Whether the apparent distaste for the VAR among fans will be used to change the system, however, is unclear, and the Premier League has moved to defend the technology by highlighting its improvements.
They say the average delay caused by VAR during games is 50 seconds, while a typical rating is 70 seconds.
95 percent of fans in the survey believe that VAR has made the game experience worse
In total, there were 129 VAR reviews last season – an average of one every 2.9 matches – and referees spent an average of 26 seconds behind their screens checking specific controversial incidents.
Overall decision-making accuracy has risen to 97 percent after the introduction of the VAR, the top flight has also revealed, up from an earlier figure of 85 percent.
Neil Swarbrick, the head of the Premier League’s VAR, has insisted that officials incorporate the feedback from everyone involved in football in order to fix the system’s problems.
“All I can say is it’s a work in progress for us,” Swarbrick said air sports. ‘We do our best. Certainly from the FSA we talk to the fans, we listen to the fans.
Premier League VAR chief Neil Swarbrick has urged officials to take feedback on board
“We talk to the clubs, we talk to the players. This is still a work in progress for us. We want to get as much feedback as possible, take that into account, try to move forward with the VAR and put it in a better place.’
VAR has often been criticized for tight offside conversations, but that situation is set to improve in the near future as the Premier League has moved one step closer to using automated technology.
After a successful trial at a top club, the skeletal player tracking system developed by HawkEye immediately sends a message to the referee, a welcome change from the long waiting times of VAR.
Officials would still need to determine if the offside player had interfered with play, but it would no longer be necessary for them to draw offside lines, as seen in VAR.