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Everton told full Premier League truth as VAR effect confirmed amid scrap calls

Match referee Tony Harrington is examining the VAR evidence before awarding a penalty to Everton during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Everton at St. James's Park in Newcastle, on April 2, 2024.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


In the world of modern football, there are many contentious points around 'The Beautiful Game'. Perhaps one place where there'd been little to no controversy was with the introduction of technology into the game, in particular goal-line technology.

It's an addition to the sport that has seen no controversy since its introduction into the Premier League in 2013, so when the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was discussed, many welcomed what they thought would be a positive change. Sadly, it's been anything but.

Refereeing decisions have never been under a microscope more than they are now, with each and every weekend pulling up new, contentious moments that have half the country disagreeing with the other. Ultimately, the decision comes down to a group of officials' interpretation of the law rather than the law itself - something that has caused inconsistency to crop up time and time again over the last few years.

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In fact, clubs clearly think it's so bad that the 20 Premier League clubs are holding a vote on whether to 'scrap' the process, a motion bought forward by Wolves who felt they'd been on the wrong end of numerous decisions throughout the season.

In response, the Premier League itself released a statement affirming their support for the pitchside procedure, announcing: "The Premier League can confirm it will facilitate a discussion on VAR with our clubs at the Annual General Meeting next month.

"Clubs are entitled to put forward proposals at shareholders' meetings and we acknowledge the concerns and issues around the use of VAR.

"However, the League fully supports the use of VAR and remains committed, alongside PGMOL, to make continued improvements to the system for the benefit of the game and fans."

Since then, ESPN have researched each and every controversial decision made by VAR throughout the 2023/24 season - a total of 31 which they deemed to be 'incorrect' - and have tallied up how it ultimately would've affected both the final league standings, as well as the net amount of goals given and disallowed throughout the season and which clubs were negatively affected the most.

Of the 31 'incorrect' decisions, only two of them involved Everton and both were ruled to have benefited the Toffees when in reality they shouldn't have. The first was in the 1-0 win over Burnley in late April which saw a red card shown to Dara O'Shea for denying Dwight McNeil's obvious goal-scoring opportunity, with ESPN arguing it should have been reduced to a yellow.

The other came in the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest a week prior in which it was deemed Forest should have been given a spot kick for a challenge by Ashley Young on Callum Hudson-Odoi; at the time the score was 1-0 in the 55th minute.

In fact, those two VAR 'mistakes' meant that Everton finished second in the Winners and Losers table, only behind Aston Villa with their net positive gain on VAR mistakes being three. Liverpool had the worst return, having four 'incorrect' VAR decisions go against them to leave them bottom of the table while Brighton and Wolves slot in just above them on negative three.

On the real league table, it would've meant Everton losing two points and a 16th-place finish behind Brentford but still ahead of the relegation zone. Their research also showed that VAR were mainly making incorrect decisions around penalties with 14 of the 31 'mistakes' centring around spot-kicks.

Finally, of the 13 teams that have been in the Premier League for all five seasons that VAR has been implemented, Sean Dyche's side sit slap-bang in the middle of the table with a net positive decision score of +2, while Brighton sit at +8 at the top of the table, just ahead of Liverpool with +5.

Wolves, the club who introduced the call to scrap VAR, sit at the bottom of the table with a score of -18, 12 'against' decisions ahead of the two next clubs Arsenal and West Ham with -6.