SFA chief admits VAR 'teething problems' but working on improvements

Ian Maxwell says it's still the very early days of using the video technology.

Scottish FA chief admits VAR teething problems but working on improvements SNS Group

Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell has accepted there have been “teething problems” for VAR but insists the governing body is working hard to improve the system.

Video Assistant Referees (VAR) and the accompanying technology were introduced to Scottish football in October last year after three years of planning, development and testing.

While supported and paid for by the member clubs, the new system has been widely criticised not only over some of the decision making but also over the length of time taken to reach decisions and the communication with supporters.

Last week, Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes said that he believed referees were leaving key decisions to be made by VAR officials when the system is only meant to be used to correct “clear and obvious errors”.

Specific decisions across a number of games have caused controversy over the last month with several managers speaking out.

SFA chief Maxwell didn’t dispute that there had been problems but cautioned that it was still early in the implementation and that the people involved needed to smooth out the process.

“The technology is working, there’s no doubt about that,” Maxwell told STV. “Refereeing has always been controversial. There is always subjectivity around decisions and that’s continuing.

“We’re not saying it has been perfect to date, and we’re obviously working as hard as we can to try and improve that.

“I think it’s worth recognising that we’re only five or six months into VAR and there are countries that have had it a lot longer than us that are still seeing issues.

“We want it to be as smooth and straightforward as possible and we’re working hard as we can to achieve that.”

Ross County manager Malky Mackay said on Sunday that mistakes with VAR would end up costing managers’ their jobs and unfairly affect titles, relegation and European places if standards didn’t rise.

When that was put to Maxwell, he said that every effort was being made to help referees reach the correct decisions.

“We want decisions to be right,” he said. “The reason for implementing VAR was to increase the number of decisions that we’re making on the pitch.

“There obviously have been teething problems but that’s part of implementation and part of a bedding-in process. We want to ensure that as many decisions are being made on the pitch as we can.”

The chief executive also shared his thoughts on the positive start to Scotland men’s team’s Euro 2024 qualification campaign.

“Six points out of six points, it doesn’t get any better than that and it’s pleasing to be able to say that,” Maxwell said.

“The result against Spain at Hampden was terrific and the most pleasing thing is that we deserved the win.

“The players put in a great performance and the stadium was as noisy and the atmosphere as good as anybody will have heard in a long time at Hampden.

“The pressure now is to go and make sure that those results are worthwhile by finishing qualification. We’ve got a long way to go and got a number of tough games but everybody is confident and looking forward to the June international window.”

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