As the 2023/24 Premier League season is set to come to an end this weekend, managers of English top-flight clubs spoke to the media on Friday. The title race is undoubtedly the biggest headline heading into the last round of matches on Sunday.

After all, Manchester City is looking to secure their fourth consecutive league title with a win against West Ham. Arsenal, however, is still alive in the chase after finding themselves behind the reigning European champions by just two points. The Gunners are set to host Everton at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, the same time as City plays.

A title race going into the last match of the campaign is essentially an ideal situation for Premier League officials. Nevertheless, an ongoing debate regarding VAR seemingly took over talks between the media and coaches on Friday. It was recently revealed that Wolves are leading a charge among the top-flight teams to vote on potentially abolishing VAR ahead of the 2024/25 season.

The vote is expected to take place at the league’s annual general meeting on June 6th. At least 14 of the 20 Premier League sides would have to vote in favor of banning the use of the technology. While a vote is set to occur, getting rid of VAR is seemingly unlikely to pass.

Coaches claim that VAR needs minor changes in England

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta played coy on his opinions regarding VAR during his press conference on Friday. Nevertheless, many Premier League managers were united in saying that the technology is not necessarily the problem, but instead, the English officials in charge need to improve.

Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool), Unai Emery (Aston Villa), Mauricio Pochettino (Chelsea), Sean Dyche (Everton), and Nuno Espirito Santo (Nottingham Forest) all essentially echoed the same sentiment on the situation. Although Klopp is departing the Reds following their final game against Wolves, he insisted that the issue lies on the actual top-flight referees.

“In the way they do it, I would vote against it,” proclaimed the German manager. “Because these people are not able to use it properly. I do not think VAR is the problem, but the way we use it is the problem.”

Pochettino and Emery insisted that they are fans of VAR. Still, the system needs appropriate changes in England. “I like VAR,” stated the Chelsea boss. “The way we need to improve is how we use VAR – that for me is the key. We need to be open and to welcome the new technology. I think it’s good for football, [we only need] to decide the best strategy to improve in the way we use VAR.”

“I believe in VAR, and I want VAR. The referees need VAR,” added Emery. “I want to completely keep it. VAR has to improve as well, but it is fair always.”

Dyche and Nuno both essentially reiterated these opinions, while the Everton coach also hinted at VAR improvements to appease fans inside the stadium. “The challenge is to bring it to a much more smoother operation,” proclaimed Dyche.

Premier League officials set to introduce two significant VAR tweaks

Improvements to VAR are on the way in England. This is, of course, assumes Premier League clubs collectively vote to ban the technology next month. English officials revealed in April that semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) will enter the top flight in late 2024.

The technology is currently in use in the UEFA Champions League and Italy’s Serie A. It helps determine potential offside decisions much more rapidly. While getting correct calls is ultimately the most important aspect of VAR, many fans inside the actual arenas feel dissatisfied with the lengthy process of the checks.

In-stadium VAR announcements are also coming to the most popular soccer league in the world as well. Beginning from the 2024/25 campaign, referees will announce VAR decisions on stadium public address systems. It will resemble what the NFL does during penalties, with referees indicating their calls.

Along with these two alternations, English referees also need to improve heading into the new campaign. Part of this refinement could come down to simplifying verbiage in the official rulebook. Some laws, including handball, are far too subjective and need additional tweaking.