Chief Referee Crawford Allan has welcomed the introduction of VAR to Scottish football, with Hibernian’s clash with St Johnstone being the first game to use the system later this month.
After nearly three years of planning, development and testing, FIFA has given the go-ahead to introduce video assistant referees for the game in Scotland, with all eyes on Easter Road on October 21st.
VAR is coordinated centrally from the video operating room at Clydesdale House in Springhill in Glasgow’s East End.
It assists referees on the pitch in the event of a clear and obvious error or a serious overlooked incident related to direct red cards, penalty area incidents, goals and mix-ups.
Allan, Head of Refereeing at the Scottish Football Association, said: “We are delighted to have been approved to introduce VAR into Scottish football.
“We have worked hard to get to this point over a period of almost three years, tested at every Cinch Premiership stadium as part of the training process and are ready to go.
“As we’ve seen around the world, VAR has helped a higher percentage of refereeing decisions on the field to be correct and that’s a principle our match officials support.
“I am grateful to the match officials who gave up their time to attend the training program and I would like to thank our VAR working group and our key partners at the SPFL, particularly their COO (Chief Operating Officer) Calum Beattie for his help throughout development phase and the Cinch Premiership Clubs, all of whom supported and engaged in the process.
“Hawk-Eye and QTV also deserve credit for their technological expertise in creating a world-class VAR center here at Clydesdale House.”
As well as all Cinch Premiership matches, VAR is also used for all Scottish Cup and Premier Sports Cup semi-finals and finals played at Hampden Park.
Production of all Cinch Premiership games will also be increased to a minimum of six cameras, adding quality and depth to the league’s coverage.
Beattie urged patience in implementing the system, saying: “When 41 out of 42 clubs voted to introduce VAR into the Cinch Premiership at our General Assembly in April, we said the technology would be introduced after the World Cup.
“Our clubs have made it clear that they want VAR to be introduced as soon as possible and the Scottish FA deserve real credit for being able to make this announcement early.
“VAR exists to increase the accuracy of referee decision-making and whilst experience from other leagues shows it will not be easy to implement, we are all committed to supporting the Scottish FA to adapt so quickly over the next few months as possible can embed .
“Following the announcement of the biggest televised deal in Scottish football history with Sky Sports, this is another step forward for the game in Scotland.
“Thanks to our clubs’ recent successes in UEFA competition, the Cinch Premiership currently sit eighth in the UEFA coefficient rankings and this development puts us in line with other comparable European leagues.
“We would like to thank our 12 Cinch Premiership clubs for embracing the process – and the significant financial commitment – and hope that everyone involved will show a degree of patience and understanding during the initial stages.”