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VAR to be introduced in Scottish Premiership next season after SPFL clubs vote in favour

Scottish officials prepare for VAR

SPFL clubs have voted in favour of introducing video assistant referees in the Scottish Premiership next season.

The VAR system is set to be launched mid-campaign when the league resumes in December after the World Cup.

The total cost of £1.2m per season is to be met by the 12 clubs on a sliding scale, with the Premiership winners paying around £195,000 and the 12th-place team £67,000.

All 42 SPFL clubs voted on VAR’s introduction on Tuesday.

The resolution required 75% of Premiership clubs, 75% of Championship and 75% of Leagues 1 and 2 combined to vote in favour.

The Hawkeye Innovations System, which is in place in the English top flight and other European leagues, is the technology the Premiership will use. It will be installed at the 12 grounds in the coming months.

The SPFL also plans to use VAR in the League Cup semi-finals and final in January and February 2023.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said he was “very pleased” that the vote resulted in the “right decision”.

“The SPFL chose not to be an early adopter of VAR technology to allow time for teething issues to be ironed out by those leagues who adopted VAR early,” he added.

“I believe this was the right decision and that VAR will help referees to ensure tight decisions are more often the right ones and will support a higher standard and more consistent level of decision-making.

“Scottish referees are fully on-board with this innovation and have been overwhelmingly supportive about the introduction of VAR during our consultation process with our partners at the Scottish FA.”

A number of VAR trials have already taken place at under-age matches with more scheduled over the next few weeks.

Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell said the “the benefits of VAR are clear” and the technology will be a “key part of Scottish football’s future”.

Who will pay?

Premiership clubs will pay the following percentage of the full cost depending on their league position.

VAR training for referees has been carried out through the SFA.

League Position Cost
1st £195,000 (16.29%)
2nd £140,000 (11.67%)
3rd £120,000 (10.03%)
4th £106,000 (8.81%)
5th £99,000 (8.21%)
6th £91,000 (7.61%)
7th £84,000 (6.97%)
8th £80,000 (6.69%)
9th £77,000 (6.38%)
10th £73,000 (6.08%)
11th £67,000 (5.63%)
12th £67,000 (5.63%)

How will it work?

The SFA system will be a mirror image of that already used in competitions run by world governing body Fifa, with the principle of “minimum interference, maximum benefit.”

All video assistant referees will be current or recently retired Category 1 officials, with the help of a minimum of six manned cameras in each game.

The question the VAR will ask is not “has the right decision been reached?” but “has the referee or his assistant made an obvious error?” and/or “has the referee missed a serious incident?”.

VAR can intervene in seven areas:

  1. For penalty box decisions/penalty kick or possible penalty kick offences.
  2. For goals scored – all goals scored, and the build up to the goal being scored, are checked under VAR.
  3. For straight red card offences, such as violent conduct and the denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity.
  4. For serious misapplications of the laws – such as a goal scored direct from a dropped ball or throw in.
  5. For cases of mistaken identity.
  6. At the taking of a penalty kick and at kicks from the penalty mark (e.g., for encroachment or goalkeeper moving from the goalline.)
  7. For serious, missed incidents in matches.

VAR will not intervene to ensure a player is booked for what may be seen as a reckless tackle, for faulty restarts of play, or to award a foul and a free-kick.

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