Var’s lines to be thickened in Premier League with hope of eliminating armpit offsides
Thicker lines will be built into Premier League Var technology next season in a bid to calm fan and manager anger over fine-margin offside decisions.
Referees bosses received the backing of clubs to widen the digital stripes which have notoriously led to goals being ruled out by an armpit.
A total of 128 goals or incidents were directly affected by the video referee in the top tier last season. Timo Werner’s disallowed goal for Chelsea at Liverpool in March was among calls that might have been decided differently with thicker lines.
The technology tweak, which would effectively give more benefit of doubt back to the attacker, was given the approval of top-tier executives following a presentation at the league’s Annual General Meeting.
The Premier League has yet to comment on the change, but said shareholders “discussed a range of matters and recommitted to build on the collective of all 20 clubs to benefit the wider game”.
Following the agreement with six rebel clubs to donate £22million to grass-roots causes over their plot to join a European Super League, the other clubs also approved rules which would see any future plot lead to 30-point deductions.
Clubs also agreed to the principle of an “Owners’ Charter”, which will “reaffirm the values and expectations placed on clubs and their owners”, the league added.
“These additional rules and regulations are being put in place to ensure the principles of the Premier League and open competition are protected and provide certainty and stability for our clubs and their fans,” a spokesman said.
Marginal offsides, fouls in the penalty area and red cards for serious foul play had been identified as the main issues of contention after a season in which Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho bemoaned the technology.
Thicker lines are already used by Uefa and in the Dutch league. Broadcasters and TV viewers will reportedly no longer see the process of drawing the offside line, just the final result.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino recently refused to accept that Var was having a negative impact on viewing experiences, but suggested new quickfire decision-making on offsides could be in place in time for next year’s World Cup in Qatar. Broadcasting audio of pitchside monitor reviews is also likely.