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Premier League clubs vote overwhelmingly to keep VAR next season

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Premier League clubs have voted overwhelmingly to keep video assistant referees next season.

Clubs in England’s top league sided 19-1 in favour of VAR, despite widespread and persistent criticism of its implementation.

It is understood that Wolves, who called the vote, were the only club to back scrapping it.

The vote took place at the Premier League’s annual general meeting in Harrogate on Thursday.

Wolves wanted the vote to take place even though they anticipated a heavy loss.

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The West Midlands team have been on the receiving end of a number of questionable decisions involving VAR over the last season.

But in light of the vote, the Premier League, its clubs and referees’ body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) acknowledged that improvements were needed for the benefit of the game and supporters.

The Premier League is hoping a number of changes for next season, 2024/25, will improve the use of VAR.

This includes the introduction of semi-automated offside technology along with in-stadium announcements – where an on-field decision is changed following the intervention of VAR.

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They also hope to improve the in-stadium fan experience by offering big screen replays of VAR interventions where possible.

Alongside that, they are also working with PGMOL on “more robust” training for officials as well as promising “expanded communications”.

The league said it will continue efforts to lobby the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which sets the laws of the game, to allow live video and audio to be broadcast during the review.

Wolves said they were “disappointed with the outcome” of the vote but welcomed “the commitment to improve VAR, particularly in areas that address delays, consistency, and fan experience.”

Spending cap system to be trialled next season

Premier League clubs will trial two new forms of spending caps from next season.

Teams in England’s top flight will test a “Squad Cost Rules” (SCR) system, which will limit spending on players to 85% of a club’s football revenue and net profit or loss on player sales.

A second system called “Top to Bottom Anchoring” (TBA) limits – or anchors – spending to a multiple of the lowest combined prize money and cash from TV rights forecast to be earned by a team. The trials are on a non-binding basis.

The existing profitability and sustainability rules (PSR), under which Everton and Nottingham Forest were docked eight and four points respectively last season, will stay in force for 2024-25.

Two votes to change PSR for next season were rejected at Thursday’s meeting, PA understands. The first sought to raise the maximum allowable losses over three years from £105m to £135m.

The second sought to allow clubs playing in Europe to claim as an allowable loss any difference between what they earned in UEFA coefficient payments and the amount received by the highest-earning English club.

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