SFA chief: VAR 'absolutely has a future' in Scottish football

The governing body will have a summit with top flights clubs to discuss issues.

Scottish FA Ian Maxwell insists VAR has a future in Scottish football SNS Group

Scottish Football Association chief executive Ian Maxwell vowed that VAR was here to stay following a mixed reaction to its introduction.

Clubs will meet with the SFA and its refereeing department this week to review how the video technology has been used since it was brought into top-flight grounds in Scotland in October last year.

Many cinch Premiership managers have been frustrated with several aspects of the implementation and some fans have criticised delays and uncertainty.

Swedish football recently voted against introducing the technology in its league because of the impact on the fan experience.

But Maxwell said: “Absolutely it has a future. From a referee retention and recruitment perspective, it’s important, because UEFA are only selecting referees at the top level if they have VAR in their domestic setting. We need to be aware of that.

“It’s absolutely got a place. It is doing what it should do in as much as we are getting more decisions right. The stats prove that. There is still debate about one or two decisions where previously it would have been seven or eight every weekend.

“So the numbers are reducing and there is no doubt that we need and want to work hard to continue that process.

“We know we have work to do to make the improvements we want to make. We have had it for seven months, there are countries who have had it for seven years who are still seeing the problems we have.

“We want to engage with clubs, engage with stakeholders across the game, we want to improve clarity, transparency, knowledge and understanding.

“I think there has been an improvement in knowledge and understanding – people appreciate it’s the handball law they don’t like and not necessarily the referee or the VAR. That’s something, through our position on IFAB, that we can get engaged in those discussions.”

When it was suggested that VAR had had an adverse effect on fan experience, Maxwell said: “It’s had a similar fan impact across every country it has been implemented in. I don’t think the impact is a surprise, that’s always the way VAR works.

“The technology and the individuals making those decisions need some time to do that. We need to try and improve that. We want the decisions to be made as seamlessly as possible and have as little disruption on the game as possible.

“Unfortunately there are instances where that is not achievable and there has to be some time taken to make sure you get the decision right. We can rush decisions and get them wrong, and then we are in a worse place than we are at the moment.

“It’s a learning curve, we have had it for seven months, and the experience of match officials is limited over that period.

“It’s going to take them time to understand the process and understand how it works in a real-game environment, and they are learning all the time from that perspective.”

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