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VAR sponsorship not on the agenda for Premier League

SportBusiness understands that football’s English Premier League does not currently have plans to commercialise its use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology when it is introduced next season.

At this stage the league does not have plans for VAR graphics shown on big screens to be accompanied by a sponsor, with the imagery to be Premier League-branded instead.

The league confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) that it has created graphics that will be displayed on giant screens to explain any VAR-related delay and any overturned decision. If a definitive video clip that helps to explain an overturned decision is available, it will be shown on the giant screens.

The Premier League is also investigating the possibility of delivering VAR-related messages and video clips to handheld devices in the stadia. It is understood that the league is currently happy to allow individual clubs to take the lead on this possible development via their own apps, with no specific timeline in place for a broader roll-out.

For clubs that do not have giant screens in their stadium, VAR communications will instead be made through PA announcements and messages on scoreboards.

The league’s official media data partner, Opta, will have responsibility for ensuring licensed bookmakers are kept abreast of the latest VAR decisions at each stadium.

In other news, the second leg of the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Champions League is set to be replayed after a problem with VAR led to Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca walking off during the initial game.

Wydad Casablanca trailed Tunisian side Esperance 1-0 in the game, and after their equaliser was ruled out for offside, they deserted the pitch. As the VAR technology was not working, the offside decision could not be reviewed.

The match will now be played at a neutral venue, with the 1-1 result from the first leg to stand.