Scotland’s footballers have been encouraged to keep the passion in their goal celebrations but appreciate they could extend matches.
More stoppage time will be added across the world of football for celebrations this season, in line with the experience from last year’s World Cup in Qatar.
The Scottish Football Association’s head of referee operations, Crawford Allan, said: “The passion in Scottish football is fantastic, we want to keep that going. As I said to the players at all the visits, enjoy celebrating your goal.
“But what the referees have been asked to do, and it’s now in the laws of the game, they have to take a record similar to they do with substitutions and injuries, and that time gets added for goal celebrations.
“So if you have a second half that’s maybe had three goals, four subs, a head injury, maybe an on-field review, you are going to see seven, eight, nine minutes going up sometimes. But that’s going to global, Scotland will not be any different to anywhere else.”
Allan was speaking after a media briefing on VAR which outlined communication as a key focus ahead of the technology’s first full season.
Allan and his team are in the process of meeting the 12 Premiership clubs and will regularly do so throughout the season, as well as briefing the media.
Players were reminded they are liable to be penalised if the ball hits an arm or hand which makes their body “unnaturally bigger”, but VAR operators have been encouraged to form an initial opinion on incidents at full speed.
Allan said: “We have shown them some of the clips from last season and we will be looking to improve on that communication. I think they can see we are moving in the right direction.”
The analysis of VAR’s first season stated that there were fewer errors after its introduction in October but they were subjected to more attention.
However, an independent review panel featuring former managers and players will be established this season to give the SFA external feedback.
There were less reviews towards the end of the season than in VAR’s first month, down from 0.6 to 0.4 per game, and the time taken decreased. It was also pointed out that 1,068 of the 1,174 checks were “silent” and did not delay the action.
A total of 104 decisions were overturned, 31 of them were factual and 73 of them were done by referees on second viewing. Only twice did refs stick to their original decision after a review.
Fans should also be kept more updated this season after the appointment of six VAR information officers who will liaise with stadium announcers and big screen operators. The SFA referees department will also be more proactive in clarifying confusion.
“We won’t go out with video clips every single week but what we are looking to do is improve the clarity of factual decision-making in terms of explaining why VAR looked at it, or that VAR did look at a decision, and why it was decided,” Allan said.
“I think there has been a bit of a void potentially that we could help fill and educate key people.
“It’s getting the balance between not putting too much out there and getting the right time.
“We don’t want the season to be about VAR, we want it to be about football.”
The SFA this week appointed two full-time VAR officials, Andrew Dallas and Greg Aitken, and three assistants.
Dallas, whose refereeing career had been affected by an injury, said: “It’s a massive bonus to be using it week in, week out. Officials were saying last year, to be out the VAR centre for three or four weeks and then to come back in, it was taking a bit of time.
“It’s like refereeing and assistant refereeing, it’s very much a bespoke role. In time, you might see more full-time VARs.”
Despite moving out of the glare of the crowd, Dallas believes there is even more pressure on him.
“You can be forgiven for making a mistake on the pitch, because mistakes happen,” he said.
“But when you have six screens in front of you, a slow motion replay and still images, then there’s not going to be a lot of forgiveness if you get it wrong.
“It’s a different type of pressure. You still leave here on a Saturday or Sunday exhausted. I’ll be honest with you, I have seen me leaving the VAR centre sweating, because you want to make sure everything is correct.”