'Shutdown could impact VAR viability' - Crawford Allan

Crawford Allan is the head of referee operations at the Scottish FA
Crawford Allan is the head of referee operations at the Scottish FA

The shutdown of football due to the coronavirus pandemic could impact the introduction of video assistant referees in Scottish football, says head of refereeing Crawford Allan.

Managers and top-flight officials backed the introduction of VAR at a summit in January last year.

But it was acknowledged it could be 12 months before the technology was in use, and that the cost could be prohibitive.

Allan now believes the financial impact of the current shutdown could delay its introduction further.

"There are financial implications and ongoing year-on-year costs for VAR," he said.

"This may have an impact on the viability of VAR in the short term and the timing of its potential introduction to Scotland."

VAR is in use in leagues around Europe, and both Rangers and Celtic played in the knockout stages of the Europa League when the technology was used.

Its implementation has been criticised, particularly in the English Premier League, with some fans, players and managers calling for VAR to be scrapped.

But Allan says that prior to lockdown the Scottish FA had been talking to suppliers and obtaining costs, adding that VAR was due to be used at Hampden for Euro 2020, which has now been postponed by a year.

That opened up the possibility of live testing during the Scottish Cup semi-finals and final, which have been postponed indefinitely.

"I am in favour of its introduction and I know a lot of the Premiership clubs have come out in favour of it, so it may be a matter of timing," Allan said.

"I see it more as an investment in optimising correct decision making, for referees and the game, but I understand there are far more important matters that we are contending with at present.

"I remain optimistic that we will have VAR before long."

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