West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta believes the Premier League’s move to introduce VAR next season “can only be a good thing” if it is implemented correctly.
VAR has become increasingly prominent in world football in recent years, helping to correct erroneous refereeing decisions and taking some pressure off officials.
It was used at a World Cup for the first time in Russia this year, while the Bundesliga, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Serie A, A-League and MLS have all adopted the technology.
The Premier League will become the next top flight to introduce it next season, after it was trialled in England’s domestic cup competitions, but some critics remain unconvinced by how it is used.
Zabaleta thinks it is a step in the right direction but urged the Premier League to use VAR properly.
“For me, for VAR to be a success, it needs to be used only when there is something clear that has happened, rather than every time there is a questionable decision, because we need to reduce the time it takes to come to a decision,” the full-back told West Ham’s official website.
Premier League clubs have agreed in principle to introduce Video Assistant Referees (VAR) to the competition in the 2019/20 season
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 15, 2018
“There was one game during the World Cup, Portugal against Iran, which turned into a mess because the players were going down and rolling all over the pitch and the officials kept going to the VAR. This is not the way it should be used.
“We don’t want to see players and managers making the sign of a TV screen all the time, but we need to use the system to help match officials to improve their decisions.
“If VAR was in place, then Liverpool’s third goal against us in August would have been reviewed in a matter of seconds and it would have been disallowed for offside. A handball or foul for a penalty could take a little longer, but this is okay.
“We have the Goal Decision System already in place and this works perfectly, as we saw at Newcastle earlier this season, when the ball had crossed the line by a matter of millimetres and Jan Vertonghen’s goal was correctly given for Tottenham.
“Technology also works well and quickly in other sports, like Hawkeye in tennis, and if VAR is at the same level of accuracy and speed, then this can only be a good thing for football.
“Personally, I like VAR and I am happy that it is going to be introduced in the Premier League.”
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