SPFL vote on VAR date is set - with clubs to have say on Christmas introduction

VAR could be introduced to the cinch Premiership by Christmas if the majority of Scottish football clubs back the introduction of video assistant referees.

All 42 teams in the Scottish Professional Football League will be asked to vote on introducing the system to the top flight when clubs gather for the league’s annual meeting later this month.

Referees have already trialled the software and received advanced training in the system through special sessions at Hampden, and if the move gets the green-light from the SPFL AGM, they will put theory into practice after the domestic break for the World Cup in Qatar.

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A resolution has been circulated to every club in the senior league ladder which requires a 75 per cent approval rate. That means nine of the 12 current Premiership clubs, who would be directly affected by the new governance system, have to be in favour. In addition, eight Championship votes and 15 of the 20 clubs in the bottom two SPFL divisions will need to say yes to proceed with the proposal.

Referees in Scotland have gone through VAR training and could implement the system from the SPFL restart if the majority of clubs are in favour. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Cost projections and technical information will be circulated to clubs in advance of the vote. Reports last month suggested initial estimates of a £60,000 outlay per team could almost double to have a pitchside camera system placed in the 12 top-flight stadiums. It is understood that while all the clubs outside of the top flight will be asked to vote, the Championship and Leagues One and Two would not be given VAR, while correspondence on how it would be used in the Premier Sports and Scottish Cup has yet to be issued.

A VAR system has been in place in England since the start of season 2019/20 and Scotland is one of few leagues in Europe where it is not utilised, though Scottish clubs competing in Europe have been subject to the process.

Referees also spoke in favour of the introduction last month during their advanced training sessions using the system and speaking in December, Scottish FA head of referee operations Crawford Allan revealed they were trying to speed along it's introduction.

"Our desire is to bring it in as early as we can," he said. "There's not one referee that I've spoken to that doesn't want it.”

The system has already been used in Scotland during UEFA games, including Rangers' Europa League matches against Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade (above) at Ibrox. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

The clubs meet for the SPFL AGM on April 19 where the vote will take place, with was confirmed by an SPFL statement released on Monday afternoon.

It read: “The Scottish Professional Football League can today confirm that there will be a vote on 19 April on whether to introduce VAR to the cinch Premiership.

“The SPFL has this afternoon circulated a resolution to all 42 member clubs, who will be asked to vote on its introduction at the SPFL General Meeting on that date.

“The resolution requires 75 per cent of cinch Premiership clubs, 75 per cent of clubs in the cinch Championship and 75 per cent of clubs in cinch Leagues 1 and 2 combined to vote in favour.

“If the resolution is passed, the target implementation date for VAR will be following conclusion of the Qatar World Cup 2022, which takes place between 21 November and 18 December this year.”

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