Supporters’ body urges clubs to consult fans before debating VAR’s future

Supporters' body urges clubs to consult fans before debating VAR's future

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The Football Supporters’ Association, the body that represents supporters in England and Wales, has urged Premier League clubs to consult their fans before debating whether to keep or scrap the video assistant referee system.

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ formal proposal to rid the top flight of VAR has triggered a discussion on the technology’s future ahead of the Premier League’s annual general meeting June 6. The clubs will then reportedly vote on the matter, with a 14-6 majority needed to pass the abolition of VAR.

“Here at the FSA, we’d encourage all clubs to engage with their supporters’ groups on important issues which affect the matchday experience – and VAR is certainly one of those. Credit to Wolves for doing so, and we hope to see other clubs follow that lead,” the FSA said Thursday.

Wolves 1877 Trust, the team’s fan group, supported the proposal in a statement: “VAR has taken the enjoyment out of the game we all know and love with such little benefit.”

Among Wolves’ complaints about video review were that it negatively impacts celebrations while causing confusion and frustration in the stands, thereby harming the matchday experience. The club’s proposal noted that matches lack fluidity and run too long due to excessive VAR checks. It also said VAR has undermined on-pitch officials’ authority, adding that the “constant discourse” about VAR dominates conversation about the actual football.

The FSA’s findings from its 2023 National Supporters Survey found just 5.5% of fans who experienced VAR in stadiums rated their experience as good or very good. The FSA found in 2017 that 74.6% of fans were in favor of trialing video referees for game-changing decisions; by 2023, 63.3% of the supporters surveyed were against VAR.

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