United confirm VAR plans for Old Trafford
This season marks a new era as the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system will be in place in the Premier League, beginning for Manchester United with our Old Trafford opener against Chelsea.
The Premier League has backed the International Football Association Board’s philosophy that VAR should be “minimum interference for maximum benefit”. Although key incidents, including all goals, will be automatically checked, the Premier League want to maintain the pace, tempo and intensity that makes it the most popular league in the world.
The Premier League Match Centre in Stockley Park, in west London, will provide guidance for the in-match decisions, with interventions planned only for goals, penalty decisions, direct red-card incidents and mistaken identity.
VAR decisions will be communicated live to crowds in the stadiums and via the TV feed for the watching millions.
With a priority on the supporter experience within the ground, at Old Trafford, this will be done via the LED scoreboards, pitchside digital boards and over the PA system, which will simultaneously pass on the details and decisions that come from the Premier League HQ when a VAR review is taking place.
United's focus is on ensuring the matchday experience isn't overly impacted by the new format, so this differs from some other grounds that have the option to show VAR-decision replays via in-stadium screens.
The process has been extensively tested and was, of course, used last season in the Carabao Cup, Emirates FA Cup and Champions League.
During trial games in the domestic cup competitions over the last 18 months, VAR only intervened, on average, around once every five matches and it is expected the impact should be minimal.
The Premier League has been clear that it won't be 100 per cent accurate and there will still be lots of debate about subjective decisions, which all football fans accept as part of the game.
It is also anticipated the Referee Review Area by the touchline, as was used during the Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes to award United’s penalty in March, will be used sparingly to reduce time delay.
United begin the new Premier League season against Chelsea at Old Trafford this Sunday, with kick-off at 16:30 BST. The only way to guarantee your seat to this game is with a Matchday VIP Experience.
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