Video Assistant Replay is finally making its way into English football, at least in the cup competitions.
With VAR to debut in the FA Cup on Monday in the match between Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion, the technology is set to be used in both legs of the Carabao Cup semifinal between Arsenal and Chelsea as well as the Carabao Cup final. VAR won’t be in use during the other semifinal between Manchester City and Bristol City because VAR capabilities are only installed in Premier League stadia currently.
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While VAR is being expanded, English referee Mike Riley warned that the technology will never make referees “100 percent” with their decisions, but it will help deal with “clear and obvious” errors.
“It’s going to take us time,” Riley said. “You’re actually asking a generation of referees to relearn or learn new processes and skills. It will never be 100 percent because it’s so subjective on certain things and we’re asking the clear and obvious question. We don’t want errors. If through this we make that four percent (of incorrect decisions made by select referees) two percent, we’ve benefited the game.”
“There will still be debate; there will still be interest. We are not sanitizing the game through VAR.”
The first game with VAR capability on the British Isles was in last November for a friendly match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium. The game finished a scoreless draw and VAR wasn’t used.
VAR can only be used for four game-changing situations. Goals, red cards, penalty decisions and cases of mistaken identity.
Arsenal and Chelsea meet in the Carabao Cup semifinal first leg on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge, before the corresponding return leg at the Emirates Stadium on January 24. The final is set for February 25.