Premier League to change VAR offside calls – but not until mid-way through next season

Premier League to change VAR offside calls – but not until mid-way through next season
Semi-automated technology will help to significantly reduce the time required to make offside decisions through the use of VAR

The Premier League are introducing new VAR technology next season, but the “semi-automated offside” system will not be ready for the start of the campaign.

Shareholders for top-flight clubs met on Thursday and agreed on the changes which will speed up decisions on offsides. Uefa currently use this software and cameras in the Champions League to send a message to the assistant referee when there is an offside.

The system is set to be brought in after one of the international breaks next season, with Nations League matches scheduled for September, October and November. It means assistants will raise their flags immediately when there is an offside, rather than wait until the phase of play is over.

“At a Premier League Shareholders’ meeting today, clubs unanimously agreed to the introduction of Semi-Automated Offside Technology,” read a statement from the Premier League.

“The new system will be used for the first time in the Premier League next season, and it is anticipated the technology will be ready to be introduced after one of the Autumn international breaks.

“The technology will provide quicker and consistent placement of the virtual offside line, based on optical player tracking, and will produce high-quality broadcast graphics to ensure an enhanced in-stadium and broadcast experience for supporters.”

The human element of VAR has led to Luis Diaz’s goal against Tottenham being incorrectly ruled out for offside in September, with the communication between VAR and on-pitch official denying Liverpool a legitimate goal.

But the system would not bring an end to controversial VAR situations such as last weekend when Wolves were denied an equaliser against West Ham over Tawanda Chirewa being offside and standing near goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. Offside decisions would speed up by 30 seconds but VAR has also been at the centre of penalty controversy.