Since the introduction of video assistant referees to the Premier League in 2019, they have been operating from Stockley Park, a business estate in west London.
The VAR system was designed to support the on-pitch referee to reach the right decision with regard to key incidents concerning red cards, goals, penalties and cases of mistaken identity.
It involves a VAR, an assistant VAR and a replay operator closely monitoring the match, intervening only for ‘clear and obvious errors’ and ‘serious missed incidents’ falling into the aforementioned categories.
Many managers had long advocated for the introduction of VAR to ensure that major, game-changing decisions were made correctly, but it hasn’t been without controversy.
There have been complaints about the length of time taken to reach a decision, the use of VAR interrupting the flow of the game, and inconsistencies in its application, amongst other things.
Adjustments have been made to counteract these complaints and win over the sceptics, with an emphasis on keeping interference to a minimum.
Last season saw some high-profile and contentious issues surrounding the use of VAR, putting further pressure on match officials.
The final whistle had blown, but referee Chris Kavanagh was advised by VAR Simon Hooper to go to the pitch-side monitor to review a potential handball by Neal Maupay.
A penalty was belatedly awarded and Bruno Fernandes finished calmly from the spot in strange circumstances to give Man United an unexpected victory.
“You hear people wanting consistency, but I think while you have got human beings making decisions you are not going to get that,” said Brighton manager Graham Potter.
“For some reason we want to get the decision right. I would much rather leave it to the guy on the pitch to make the calls.
“But it is here, and it is part of the game, and before VAR we were probably talking about referees. It has just shifted the focus, that is all.”
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