Potential welcomed changes to Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in the Premier League may be on the way. A massive chunk of fans, coaches, and players have criticized both the use of VAR and the officials involved in the technology in recent months.

VAR has rarely been popular in the English top division since its introduction in 2019. Nevertheless, a string of recent controversies has made many call for wholesale changes to the rules.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta came under fire for blasting VAR and the overall state of refereeing in England after his team’s recent 1-0 defeat to Newcastle. On the flip side, Tottenham Hotspur head coach Ange Postecoglou took praise for not having a go at officials in his postgame interview following a defeat earlier this week.

However, many pointed out that Postecoglou was, in fact, booked during the game for complaining to the referee. The decisions against Spurs on the day were also not exactly extremely controversial either.

West Ham manager says coaches keep quiet to avoid fines, bans

Many Premier League coaches appear frightened to make similar comments as Arteta due to the risk of a fine or suspension. West Ham manager David Moyes touched on this topic during a press conference on Friday. “We don’t want to [publicly complain] because managers will be fined for speaking out of turn,” stated Moyes.

“Most managers don’t want to say anything about it because we know we’re locked down. If clubs or managers choose to have an outburst then that’s their choice and they can choose to do that.”

A lot of managers and fans feel that the officiating has been consistently incompetent in 2023/24
A lot of managers and fans feel that the officiating has been consistently incompetent in 2023/24

A lot of managers and fans feel that the officiating has been consistently incompetent in 2023/24

The veteran coach also claimed that complaining doesn’t really go anywhere with the league’s brass. “We feel that we’re not getting an awful lot back when we’re giving it back to the officials or whoever,” continued Moyes.

“There have been a couple of big incidents that have been highlighted, but it’s mainly at the top clubs. It’s as if people don’t think that some other clubs have the same problems. The same VAR problems, the same decision-making. It doesn’t get the same highlight. We’re all pretty disappointed by what we’ve been getting back.”

Premier League managers likely to approve new offside system for 2024/25 season

Nevertheless, it seems as if changes may be coming to the Premier League. According to a report by The Telegraph, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has already begun discussing ways to improve VAR. IFAB is a group that helps determine official laws in the sport of soccer. The organization will apparently discuss new possible tweaks to VAR at their annual meeting in March.

While potential changes won’t occur during the current campaign, a major move is likely for the Premier League next summer. The aforementioned report claims that semi-automated offside technology could be in place ahead of the 2024/25 season. The technology is currently active in the Champions League and Europa League. Italy’s Serie A also uses the popular tool as well.

Semi-automated offside technology makes tough offside decisions in a fraction of the time. It also helps limit the hindrance of ‘human error’ in replay reviews. Many see human error as the reason for a plethora or incorrect calls during Premier League matches this season.

Implementing semi-automated offside technology was previously rejected by Premier League managers this summer. However, there is now a growing feeling that the coaches will help bring the tool to the English top flight next summer.

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