Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology is set to be used in both legs of the upcoming semi-final clash between Chelsea and Arsenal in the Carabao Cup.

The technology will also deployed in the final next month, but not in Manchester City’s semi against surprise contenders Bristol City.

Monday evening’s FA Cup third-round match between Brighton and Crystal Palace will mark the first time VAR is used in a competitive match in England, despite demand for the technology spanning back well over a year now.

The International Football Association Board agreed a two-year trial initially in 2016, but we’ve yet to see system fully in action in English club football.

VAR is referred to in game-changing situations, meaning; goals, penalty decisions, dangerous play and for cases of mistaken identity by the referee.

Referees’ chief Mike Riley said the technology will never be “100% perfect” as not all decisions are black and white in football. Speaking to BBC Sport, he revealed:

“It’s going to take us time. You’re actually asking a generation of referees to relearn or learn new processes and skills.

“It will never be 100% because it’s so subjective on certain things and we’re asking the clear and obvious question.

“There will still be debate; there will still be interest. We are not sanitising the game through VAR.”

Having been integral to officiating in the 2017 Confederations Cup and now also in both domestic competitions in Italy and Germany, we could very well be witnessing the beginnings of a drastic change to refereeing as we know it in England’s top flight.

Chelsea host Arsenal in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge, before the return leg on January 24th at the Emirates.


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