The Premier League has made changes to Video Assistant Referee (VAR) rules ahead of the 2020/2021 season.
The new season kicks off this weekend, when Arsenal take on Liverpool in the Community Shield.
At the Premier League’s annual general meeting earlier this month, it was agreed that VAR would now be used in line with FIFA protocol.
This will result in slight differences:
1. Referees going to the pitch-side monitor: This will possibly be the most welcome change, as match officials will be encouraged to look at the incidents themselves, rather than rely on a voice from Stockley Park.
2. TV coverage could make offsides less controversial: Although the offside law won’t change, the decision to allow fans to see the process of how the VAR comes to a decision will be altered.
The lines will still be drawn, and could potentially be broadcast later to back up a decision, but they are not set to be seen in real time.
3. In another change that will bring the Premier League in line with competitions across Europe, assistant referees are being asked not to raise their flag for offside during goal-scoring opportunities, until the passage of play has ended.
4. Goalkeepers will be watched carefully at penalties: Unlike last season, it will now be the VAR’s job to monitor whether or not goalkeepers stray off their line when facing penalties, with one of their feet needed to be planted on the line when the ball is struck.
VAR will also be keeping an eye on players encroaching into the penalty area on spot-kicks, but they will only order a retake depending on what the encroaching player does.