SFA to hold talks with SPFL and clubs over introduction of VAR

A VAR review during Tottenham Hotspur's match with Rochdale at Wembley. Picture: PA
A VAR review during Tottenham Hotspur's match with Rochdale at Wembley. Picture: PA
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The Scottish Football Association will holds talks with the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) and its member clubs over the introduction of video assistant referees (VAR) in Scotland.

The International Football Association Board (Ifab) - comprising representatives from FIFA, and the football associations of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland - backed the introduction of VAR on a permanent basis at a meeting in Zurich over the weekend.

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And while the SFA have welcomed Ifab’s “unanimous approval” of VAR, Scottish football’s governing body has suggested that it will only implement the technology if clubs back it and it is affordable.

An SFA statement read: “It is something we would be happy to embrace and support if there was a widespread appetite from our member clubs to do so and if it proved affordable to implement.

“Our decision to vote in favour of VAR was not taken lightly, but after lengthy research are confident it is a move that is in the best interests of the game.”

Video assistant referees are in line to be used at this summer’s World Cup after FIFA chief Gianni Infantino confirmed a decision would be made at a meeting later this month.

But it will not be introduced in next season’s Champions League, with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin admitting he sees a “lot of confusion” in the technology.

Despite the SFA’s statement, the SPFL said in December that there were no plans to bring in goal-line technology, with the league body deeming it too expensive.

SFA president Alan McRae described Ifab’s decision as “a significant step for football,” adding: “As a founding member of Ifab, we support the decision to endorse VAR and are proud to have played our part in [the decision].

“The challenge now is to establish if and how we should look to accommodate it within the Scottish game.

“There must now be a wider conversation between those of us at the SFA, the SPFL and member clubs, which take into account any financial outlay and modifications to existing facilities that would have to be made before we can make a call on VAR’s current suitability for the game in this country.”

VAR was fiercely criticised last week when it led to numerous delays during Tottenham Hotspur’s FA Cup replay with Rochdale at Wembley, after which Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino branded the system “embarrassing”.

Spurs recorded a 6-1 win victory, but had two goals disallowed, a penalty awarded and a penalty claim turned down all as a result of VAR during an eventful first half.

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