Ex-Premier League referee worries over what EFL source says about VAR in West Brom Championship matches
We’re delighted to welcome former Premier League & FIFA-listed referee Keith Hackett as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at West Brom...
Keith Hackett is worried about the potential introduction of a stripped-back version of VAR in West Brom’s Championship games.
According to a report by The Times on 17 February, the EFL and WSL plan to bring in a “VAR-light system as a low-cost alternative to the video referees used in the Premier League”.
It is understood that it would not intrude on offside decisions and wouldn’t have as many cameras in stadiums as they have in the Premier League.
The Times report adds: “One EFL source said that VAR-light could be the perfect solution as it would avoid the marginal calls that have caused controversy in the Premier League.”
West Brom fans know all too well about the standard of refereeing in the Championship and while ex-FIFA official Hackett would be in favour of VAR being used in the EFL, he’s worried that the quality of referees simply isn’t there to implement it properly.
Speaking to West Brom News, Hackett said: “I think in the Championship, there are a few referees that are frankly not up to the standard that you would expect.
“And maybe if they got a second chance to see something, it might help.
“But, generally, in the Championship, I’m in favour of VAR being used.
“If there is this growing trend for a lighter model where there’s another referee in the stadium, it’s got to be a competent referee.
“Look, we go back to Lee Mason, he wasn’t a very good referee so it’s not an excuse to get rid of a referee and make him VAR.
“It’s needed and I’m for it but my worry is the weakness. Are we going to have a replication of the management errors, a lack of control and leadership, in its introduction?
“I noticed this week there’s an advert gone out for a part-time VAR controller at Stockley Park so it looks as though they’re increasing manpower to try and improve things.
“I see weaknesses because of the quality of officiating.
“Who’s going to be VARs and how many?”
The Times reports that the new VAR-light system could be introduced at the start of the 2023/24 season.
While that’s a year-and-a-half away, Albion’s form in the Championship this season more than suggests this is a change that could affect them in the future.
In other West Brom news, Albion have completed a new signing outside of the January transfer window.