As Scottish football looks to introduce technology for Video Assistant Refereeing in the near future, VAR operators are now being recruited for SPFL games.
Sports technology company Hawk-Eye has advertised vacancies for football replay operators, with the job description saying the roles will be based in Scotland and working on SPFL matches.
Though Scottish clubs have not yet formally voted to introduce VAR to the domestic game, the football authorities have had widespread support to trial the system behind closed doors and have been working to train officials and test the application of the technology.
Clubs will discuss VAR before the end of the season and are likely to vote on the issue. If it was to be given the go-ahead, it’s believed that VAR could be used in top flight league games from the second half of next season.
Steps are now being taken to prepare for that scenario, with the job adverts the latest public step in that direction.
The replay operator position is advertised as having a salary of just over £22,000 a year and states that “the majority of work will take place in and around the central belt of Scotland, with travel stretching further afield to all the SPFL grounds.”
The football systems operator will work in a dedicated video operations room at the stadium and will work alongside the Scottish FA’s match officials, preparing replays of major incidents from different angles to allow crucial decisions to be assessed.
Applicants are told to be prepared to work “long days at weekends and midweek evenings … whenever football happens, wherever it happens”.
The technology is claimed to help decisions from referees on potentially game-changing incidents, such as penalties, red cards or offside, can rise to being 99% accurate, from a current level of around 92-93%.
Category one official John Beaton told STV earlier this month that the system can be hugely beneficial to referees in big games.
“I think in terms of just knowing the big decisions are correct [it’s important],” he said. “If you make a decision during a match, it can sometimes play on your mind whether you’ve got it right or not.
“Certainly throughout the course in terms of management of the players, they will have a perception that it’s right or wrong.
“If we can know that it is the right decision, or indeed change it to get the right decision, it’s massive for the credibility of our own performances and the league.”
Scottish FA referee’s chief Crawford Allan said that the technology was essential to stop referees missing out on major tournaments and appointments, and to keep standards as high as they could be.
He told STV: “If you look at the appointments internationally, in the Champions League and Europa League, a lot of appointments are going to Polish referees, Dutch and Portuguese.
“It’s countries that use VAR week in, week out.
“By getting our referees to operate at that top table, it’s a bit like the players, if they’re international and getting the experience, they’re bringing it back to Scotland. We’re no different.”
Hawk-Eye’s vacancy is advertised with a start date of April-October 2022, with the deadline for applications at the end of this month.
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