Express & Star

Wolves VAR proposal: Everything you need to know ahead of next week's vote

VAR's future in the Premier League has been called into question after Wolves proposed a vote next month to scrap it.

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Here is everything you need to know and what happens next:

What has happened?

Wolves issued a statement on Wednesday confirming they would seek a vote to remove VAR at the league's annual general meeting on June 6. Wolves say VAR is "undermining the value of the Premier League brand".

Why Wolves?

The Black Country club have more reason than most to dislike VAR. Data from ESPN shows their 'net score' of decisions for and against is minus 17 since the system's introduction for the 2019-20 season.

What happens next?

Wolves have submitted a resolution and are understood to be sending additional documentation to the Premier League next week. If it came to a vote, they would need the support of 13 other clubs. PA understands Wolves will not be seeking to remove goal-line technology, a system which predates VAR.

What has the Premier League said?

The league says it "fully supports" the continued use of VAR and crucially, efforts to further improve it. Communication within stadia has been a major criticism from fans - more on that later - and the league has taken that on board, and looks set to introduce the system used at last summer's Women's World Cup where the outcome of on-field VAR reviews by referees are announced to the crowd once complete.

Clubs also voted on April 11 to introduce semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) in the autumn. Top-flight sources have said the technology is expected to cut the average length of a VAR check for offside by 31 seconds.

League sources do not see any way in which SAOT could be kept if the rest of VAR was scrapped.

The league also points to the improvement in correct 'key match incident' decisions - up from 82 per cent in 2018-19 to 96 per cent in the current campaign. The Premier League is also working with the game's lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to progress towards ultimately using VAR audio live in the future.

The league believes scrapping VAR would significantly impact on its reputation as a leading competition.

What about fans?

The Wolves 1877 Supporters Trust welcomed their club's statement and called on other trusts to lobby their clubs in support of the proposal. A survey of almost 10,000 fans conducted by the Football Supporters' Association (FSA) last summer found almost two-thirds of fans (63.3 per cent) opposed VAR, with 74.6 per cent having supported its introduction in a 2017 survey.

The 2023 survey found just one in 20 who had experienced VAR in a stadium rated their experience of it as good or very good. More than 90 per cent agreed decisions take too long to make and 95 per cent highlighted VAR had removed spontaneity from goal celebrations.

"There are more correct decisions than ever but 19 out of 20 fans find VAR makes football less enjoyable because of delays and the removal of the immediate joy associated with goal celebrations," the FSA said in a social media post on Thursday.

"Goal-line tech still has wider support as it is almost instantaneous."

Does VAR still have its supporters?

Interestingly, Leeds boss Daniel Farke certainly seems to be one. The German has said that his side would have gained automatic promotion from the Championship if VAR was in place in the second tier.

He said earlier this week: "I have 12 apologising letters at home already during the season with offside goals and penalties not given.

"If we would've used VAR during this season, we wouldn't be in the play-offs. We would've been promoted automatically."

Leeds would be one of the clubs voting on the proposal should they get promoted via the play-offs.