After testing individual games last season, Premier League officials will check the reliability of VAR in five simultaneous games this weekend.
There will be no communication between the VAR Hub and the stadiums where the games are taking place in Saturday’s five 3 pm kick-offs, as the system is only being trialled.
VAR helps referees in situations where they are unsure about decisions related to goals, direct red cards, penalties and cases of mistaken identity. Referees’ Chief Mike Riley has compared VAR to having a ‘fifth official’.
However, some fans and pundits alike remain unsure, after an incorrect decision wrongly ruled out Juan Mata’s goal for offside against Brighton in an FA Cup tie last year.
BREAKING: How VAR made it's offside decision for Juan Mata's Manchester United goal! ? pic.twitter.com/i9VYpM3KAM
— That's Football! (@ThatsFootballTV) February 17, 2018
The disadvantages of VAR are that it slows down the game, eliminates some aspects of controversy and excitement and if the decision for Mata’s goal is anything to go by, the system still needs a lot of work.
However, game-changing decisions such as this are too important to get wrong and almost impossible to call in the speed that the game is played in. Referees do not have the slow-motion replays that viewers have at home, and maybe that’s just what they need to help improve the accuracy, quality, and consistency of refereeing in the Premier League.