VAR: Former ref Steve Conroy calls for Scottish football to embrace new system

Media playback is not supported on this device

World Cup 2018: Antoine Griezmann tucks away controversial VAR penalty

A former top referee has called on Scottish football to trial video assistants and believes it could be used in the Scottish Cup.

Steve Conroy says VAR is here to stay and that eventually the game north of the border will have to get used to it.

VAR has been trialled in English football and was used at the World Cup this summer.

"I don't think there's any way of going back on it anyway," Conroy told BBC Scotland.

"It's like goal-line technology. It's here, we need to embrace it and get on with it."

The system works with the referee being notified through an ear-piece of disputable decisions by a separate refereeing team watching on television.

The referee can then watch a video replay of the incident at the side of the pitch. A review can only be used for goals, penalty incidents, red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

But it caused controversy at the World Cup in Russia; notably the penalty awarded to France in the final against Croatia, with many observers split on whether it should have been given.

"As a concept, I think it's a fantastic idea," Conroy said. "It's going to clear up a lot of things. It's going to help the referee team get a lot more contentious decisions right.

"Some have still to be convinced of it. Anything new, there's always going to be teething problems, but I think the majority of referees agree with the concept of it."

It is believed that the SFA remains open-minded to the system providing it is suitably costed and other key stakeholders agree to its implementation.

Ultimately, any further decisions would come down to cost, but the governing body, as well as the Scottish Professional Football League, will be analysing its use at the World Cup and monitoring further developments.

'Should not have been allowed at the World Cup'

Although Conroy is a fan of the system, he believes using it at the World Cup was wrong, with VAR still in its infancy.

He believes using it in the Scottish Cup semi-finals and final is a possibility but says Scottish referees would have to get used to the system long before the Hampden showpieces.

One problem, he says, is that many clubs in Scotland would struggle to afford the equipment needed.

"It shouldn't have been allowed anywhere near the World Cup until all the teething problems had been ironed out," he suggested.

"Some of the calls, for good and bad, were a bit perplexing.

"It should have been trialled more extensively before it got to the biggest competition that there is.

"In the early stages, if teams from the Highland League are involved in the Scottish Cup, there are doubts over whether they could use it.

"But maybe we need to bite the bullet, you've got to start somewhere. Maybe something like a cup competition, not the World Cup but another cup competition, would be a good way of trialling it.

"We have to have a go at it before the Scottish Cup semi-finals, just so as many eventualities as possible have been looked at.

"I think the Scottish FA have always been open-minded to advances, so I wouldn't be surprised if talks were ongoing."

How VAR works

Top Stories