‘Sensationally low-rent’ VAR tweak coming to Premier League to save us all

Steven Chicken
A big screen shows a VAR check for offside is ongoing
VAR offside calls could be reduced by a whole 31 seconds. Just think what you could do with that time!

Fans of animated crash-test dummies will be absolutely delighted to hear that the Premier League plan to introduce semi-automated offside technology next season.

The graphics will already be familiar to many football fans, which features Virtua Cop-level 3D players intersecting a translucent computer generated wall, like (look away now if you’re squeamish) that really horrible bit in Thirteen Ghosts where the lad gets sliced in half by the sliding glass doors. And now that’s all you’ll all be able to think about too. You’re welcome?

Semi-Automated Offsides will speed up VAR calls

The new tech is set to be rolled out in ‘the autumn’, but not in time for the actual beginning of the new season.

Our very own lovely Dave Tickner wrote of the system after he saw it in action for the first time in the opening game of the 2022 World Cup: “When we did get the actual evidence the decision was based on, the graphics for the ‘semi-automated’ system were absolutely sensationally low-rent. It’s just as well we all got our first glimpse of them in a game that doesn’t matter and an incident that had no bearing on the result.”

Premier League VAR is worse under Howard Webb despite clear and obvious solution…

Those graphics could then be shown on screen to the stadium crowd, who of course would regard them and go ‘you know what, fair enough, that is an excellent decision that has been given against us and I am no longer angry’. 

Enjoyable though that may be, the actual reason they’re being brought in is in a bid to speed up VAR decisions. 

At present, the line for offside is manually added by the VAR officials, which anyone who has ever had to do a bit of pixel-perfect work with an Apple Pencil will know can be fiddly and time-consuming.

How Semi-Automated offsides work

The clue is in the name as to what the semi-automated system does instead, removing much of the need for human intervention in drawing the lines – though the option will still be there just in case the new technology goes off to a mad one and, I dunno, mistakes a nearby steward for a Norwich player or something. And who among us could tell the difference either, if we passed them in the street?

That apparently reduces the average wait time for offside decisions by 31 seconds, meaning we can now expect each call to be made in no more than 4 minutes and 27 seconds on average, based purely on how it feels to watch Premier League football these days.

All 20 Premier League clubs unanimously voted to bring the technology in at Thursday’s shareholders’ meeting on Thursday. 

Discussions are ongoing about whether or not the footage that currently only referees can see on their little pitchside VAR monitors should also be beamed out over the big screen, as it has been in rugby league since the 90s.