Controversial Decisions Prompt League Officials to Explore Changes in VAR Technology; Hawk-Eye’s Contract Set to Expire
The Premier League is reportedly considering a major shake-up to its Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system following widespread complaints from managers, including Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta. The move comes after a series of contentious decisions that have fueled debates over the effectiveness and fairness of VAR in the top-flight football league.
VAR has been a point of discussion since its introduction to the Premier League for the 2019/20 season, with ongoing controversies and recent incidents raising questions about its functionality. From disallowed goals due to human error, exemplified by Liverpool’s Luis Diaz against Tottenham, to contentious penalty and offside calls, the technology’s operation has come under increasing scrutiny.
Mikel Arteta’s frustration with VAR was vocalized after Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle, where Anthony Gordon’s goal stood despite Arteta’s objections. The Arsenal manager expressed his dismay, stating, “It’s incredible. I feel embarrassed, but I have to be the one to come in here and try and defend the club, and please ask for help, because it’s an absolute disgrace that this goal is allowed.”
While an independent panel later supported VAR’s decision in that specific case, the Premier League is reportedly exploring avenues to enhance the technology. According to the Daily Mail, there is consideration of appointing a new VAR operator, with Hawk-Eye’s current contract set to expire at the end of the 2024/25 season.
Hawk-Eye, known for its success in cricket with ball-tracking technology, is also responsible for the Premier League’s goal-line technology, which has consistently performed well. However, the move to football has presented challenges, leading to an ‘acceptance’ that improvements are necessary.
Rival operators and data companies are reportedly gearing up to present their proposals to take over VAR rights once Hawk-Eye’s contract concludes. This potential shift marks a significant development in the history of VAR technology, signaling the Premier League’s commitment to addressing concerns and ensuring fair and accurate decision-making on the football pitch.
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