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VAR in Football League a ‘fair way away’

France were awarded a first-half penalty in the World Cup final against Croatia after referee Nestor Pitana consulted VAR

The English Football League is open to the possibility of implementing Video Assistant Referees, but chief executive Shaun Harvey says introducing it in league matches is a “fair way away”.

VAR was first used in a competitive game in England in January, and was in action during this summer’s Fifa World Cup in Russia.

“It has its attractions,” Harvey said.

“But we don’t have the TV cameras in place that are standard fare now at Premier League clubs.”

VAR can be used in four “match-changing” situations – goals, penalty/no penalty decisions, straight red cards and cases of mistaken identity by the referee.

The FA Cup third-round tie between Brighton and Crystal Palace on 8 January was the first domestic game to use VAR, and it was subsequently used in one Carabao Cup semi-final and the Carabao Cup final between Arsenal and Manchester City.

Premier League clubs have voted not to use the technology in the coming season, instead agreeing to continue testing it during 2018-19.

However, Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore, who is set to leave his post by the end of this year, says it is “inevitable” that VAR will eventually be introduced in the top flight.

Harvey, meanwhile, says the possible implementation of video technology in the EFL would also be hampered by the extra officials required to supervise it.

“One of our bigger concerns, ultimately, is around match officials and the staffing of it,” he said.

“We need the best officials we have got out live on a Saturday afternoon with a whistle or a flag.

“We need to keep as many of them active in those roles for as long as possible. The primary focus has got to be getting them out into the middle.”

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