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Scottish Professional Football League Is Latest to Supplement Officiating With Hawk-Eye’s VAR

By

Tom Friend

The Scottish Professional Football League voted nearly unanimously to implement Hawk-Eye Innovation’s Video Assistant Referee system, which continues to gain momentum internationally.

With 41 of 42 teams voting in favor of VAR on Tuesday, the SPFL announced it will unveil the replay system in December following the World Cup in Qatar, with further plans to use it in league cup semifinals and finals in early 2023.

Already deployed by FIFA, the English Premier League and in recent World Cup qualifiers, Hawk-Eye’s technology—and its six strategically-placed unmanned cameras—has proven to correct referee’s calls on the field with 99 percent accuracy, according to Crawford Allan, the Scottish Football Association’s head of refereeing operations.

“You’re never going to get the 100, and football will always be about opinions,’’ Allan told Sky Sports. “But that 99, I’m sure we’d agree, is better than the 92 or 93 percent at the moment.’’

The Scottish system will run identically to FIFA’s system, in that reviews will be utilized for penalties, red cards, goal confirmations and mistaken identity situations. Sky Sports reported that VAR’s cost will be £1.2 million a season, with each of the clubs sharing the cost based on their final position in the league standings. Winning Premiership clubs would be due to pay more, about £195,000 a year.

“Cost is an interesting one,’’ Allan told Sky Sports. “If I was moving Scottish football forward—and I am part of the football family—I’d like to think of it as an investment in Scottish football rather than a cost.’’

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