Belfast Telegraph

Referee Atkinson hopes Premier League takes lessons of VAR system on board

The use of VAR at the 2018 World Cup has split opinion.

FIFA referee Martin Atkinson wants the Premier League to learn the lessons of the Video Assistant Referee system at the 2018 World Cup.

The use of VAR has split opinion after a series of controversial incidents in Russia.

Former England captain Alan Shearer called it a “farce” after Iran were awarded a penalty against Portugal upon review, but his BBC colleague Gary Lineker believes it provides extra drama and improves “most refereeing decisions”.

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A big screen inside the stadium shows VAR in use during the World Cup game between Spain and Morocco (Adam Davy/Empics)

VAR was used in some FA Cup games last term, but it will not be introduced to the Premier League next season after clubs voted in April to extend trials for another year.

“We are still trialling it within England, within the Premier League, in the domestic game,” said Atkinson, who has cycled from England’s training base at St George’s Park in Staffordshire to Kaliningrad as part of the Whistle Stop Tour group.

“So whatever there is to be learned from this tournament, we can certainly look at that for next year.

“The clubs want it as a trial for next season, we as referees do so it will be great to see it next season just from what we can learn from this tournament.

“We want to move forward and hopefully get what the fans, supporters and the game expects as well.

“We all want the right outcome at the end of the day and all football fans feel the same way.”

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