VAR faces several hurdles in Scotland, says SPFL chief Neil Doncaster

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Should Aberdeen have had a last minute penalty?

Cost is only one of several barriers to introducing Video Assistant Referees into Scottish football, according to league boss Neil Doncaster.

The Scottish Professional Football League is to monitor experiments in various European countries this season.

"There's also the resource issue," chief executive Doncaster said.

"You need, for every game where you're running a VAR system, a video assistant referee and a second assistant in the van with him."

Doncaster said it was unclear whether there would be enough qualified referees to enable a system that, at a minimum of £5000 per game, would cost more than £1m per season to introduce to the Scottish Premiership.

He pointed out that the technology was also in its infancy - and it is not yet clear whether its introduction would enhance the game.

"It was used for the first time properly in the World Cup in Russia and it's fair to say that the use of VAR wasn't without controversy," he told BBC Scotland.

"France's second goal against Croatia in the World Cup final was certainly a controversial goal.

"And, indeed, in the group stages, you might remember Australia being awarded a penalty against Denmark that was an extremely harsh award given after a VAR review.

"I don't think VAR would eliminate controversy and I don't think it would eliminate decisions that people disagree with."

Doncaster pointed out that there had been a number of incidents in the Premiership this season that remained controversial even after footage was reviewed via the Scottish FA's disciplinary process.

Aberdeen, unhappy at losing their appeal against a red card shown to Mikey Devlin, have urged the governing bodies to consider VAR to restore trust in the appeals procedure.

Motherwell chief executive Alan Burrows followed that urging the SPFL to finance a feasibility study.

Doncaster says it will wait to see how trials go in England's Premier League, Germany's Bundesliga and Spain's La Liga, among other leagues, before coming to a conclusion.

"Inevitable? I'm not so sure," he added. "Certainly, what we do need to do is investigate thoroughly how it works.

"It is a relatively new technology. It's not necessarily an area where we want to be ahead of the curve.

"There are a number of leagues within Europe that are trialling VAR and I think the wise thing to do is to see how their trials work and then decide for ourselves whether we want to include it in the Ladbrokes Premiership or not."

VAR future splits opinions - analysis

A referee examines replays at the Jupiler Pro League match between Club Brugge and Lokeren
VAR has been used in Belgium's Jupiler Pro League this season

Pundits on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound

Former Celtic and Scotland midfielder Kris Commons: "I think it is inevitable. You've got it in England, Germany, Spain, you had it in the World Cup and it won't be long before it is across Europe.

"I think it is the way forward. It is what every sport's doing. You've got the cricket thing, the tennis thing, the American Football thing.

"The referee's need help. The game is so fast now and it will eliminate the silly errors."

Ayr United manager Ian McCall: "The only reason I don't think it is inevitable in Scotland is because I think it will cost way more than seven figures.

"Eventually, it would be great to have it, but financially I'm not sure we could cope with the money needed to do it properly.

"I think the key issue is money. I don't think there is any doubt about that."

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