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Survey: Football fans want less VAR, faster decisions

A new survey has found that nearly half of football fans would support VAR in the Premier League if it's used more sparingly and reached decisions more swiftly.

Wolves have brought forward a proposal to scrap the technology which will be voted on at the league's annual general meeting on Thursday, but the Premier League says it "fully supports" VAR and it is expected that it will be retained.

An Ipsos poll of almost 800 football fans conducted last month found 44 per cent believe VAR has had a negative impact on the game overall, with the same percentage supporting scrapping it in its current form for next season.

However, 48 per cent said they would support VAR if it was used less often, and decisions were taken more quickly.

Semi-automated offside technology is set to be introduced to the Premier League in the autumn which is expected to cut the length of the average offside VAR check by 31 seconds.

Support for VAR was found to be highest among younger fans in the Ipsos survey. In the 16 to 34 age group, 50 per cent supported keeping it as it is for next season.

A survey of almost 10,000 fans conducted by the Football Supporters' Association (FSA) last summer found almost two-thirds of fans (63.3 per cent) opposed VAR, with 74.6 per cent having supported its introduction in a 2017 survey.

The 2023 survey found just one in 20 who had experienced VAR in a stadium rated their experience of it as good or very good. More than 90 per cent agreed decisions take too long to make and 95 per cent highlighted VAR had removed spontaneity from goal celebrations.

More recently, the FSA has highlighted surveys conducted by individual supporter trusts among their memberships.

Less than one per cent of more than 16,000 Manchester United fans polled by their supporters' trust supported keeping VAR as is. The survey found 48.8 per cent supported its continuation with certain improvements.

However, 50.6 per cent supported its abolition in any circumstances.

Clubs are also set to discuss the introduction of a trial to allow referees to announce the outcome of VAR reviews to spectators in stadiums at Thursday's AGM, similar to the trial which took place at last summer's Women's World Cup.

The Premier League intervention rate is understood to be lower than that seen in UEFA and FIFA competitions, while delays because of VAR were, on average, just over a minute in the Premier League in the 2023-24 season, roughly the same time as a goal celebration.

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