VAR in Scotland: When it will be used, impact on Celtic and Rangers, what has been said, cos & more

All you need to know about VAR coming to Scotland and how it will affect Glasgow pair Celtic and Rangers
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VAR will be used in Scotland for the first time next Friday (21st October) at Easter Road as Hibernian face St Johnstone. It will then be used throughout the Scottish Premiership fixtures that weekend.

The technology has been present in England in the Premier League since 2018 and implemented in the English Football League. The Scottish game has been yet to introduce it in until now and the process has taken three years of planning.

When will VAR be used?

VAR will be used to check decisions for only four circumstances if needed and the video operations room is at Clydesdale House in Glasgow. Here is when it will be needed - If there is a straight red card, penalty incident, when a goal is scored and if there is a case of mistaken identity.

The VAR nerve centre will be at Clydesdale House.The VAR nerve centre will be at Clydesdale House.
The VAR nerve centre will be at Clydesdale House.

As well as the weekend of the 21st October, it will also be present for the Scottish Cup and League Cup semi-finals and finals. It will be operated in line with the FIFA Laws of the Game using Hawk-Eye technology.

What has been said?

Crawford Allan, who is Scottish FA Head of Referee Operations, has said: “We are delighted to have received approval to introduce VAR in Scottish football. We have worked extensively over a near three-year period to get to this point, have tested in every cinch Premiership stadium as part of the training process, and we are ready to go.

“As we have seen across the world, VAR has helped ensure a higher percentage of on-field refereeing decisions are accurate and that is a principle our match officials support.

“I am grateful to the match officials who have given up their time to take part in the training programme and I would like to thank our VAR working group and our key partners at the SPFL, and in particular its COO Calum Beattie, for his help throughout the development phase, as well as the cinch Premiership clubs who have all been supportive and engaged in the process.”

Crawford Allan, head of referee operations at the Scottish FA, at a Hampden training session in VAR.  (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)Crawford Allan, head of referee operations at the Scottish FA, at a Hampden training session in VAR.  (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Crawford Allan, head of referee operations at the Scottish FA, at a Hampden training session in VAR. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

SPFL Chief Operating Officer, Calum Beattie commented: “When 41 out of 42 clubs voted at out General Meeting in April to introduce VAR into the cinch Premiership, we said that the technology would be introduced after the World Cup.

“Our clubs made clear that they wished for VAR to be introduced as soon as possible and the scottish FA deserve real credit for being able to make this announcement ahead of schedule.

“We are all committed to assisting the Scottish FA to help it bed in as quickly as possible over the next few months. We would link to thank our 12 cinch Premiership clubs for embracing the process - and the significant financial commitment - and hope that everyone involved will show a degree of patience and udnerstanding in the initial phase.”

How will it affect the Glasgow clubs?

Celtic and Rangers have already experienced it in Europe but other clubs but it will be the first time for other clubs in the league. The Hoops take on Hearts away on Saturday 22nd October, whilst the Gers have a clash versus Livingston at Ibrox on the same day.

Referee Espen Eskas checks the VAR screen and later disallows a goal for RB Leipzig during the UEFA Champions League Group F match against Celtic at Red Bull ArenaReferee Espen Eskas checks the VAR screen and later disallows a goal for RB Leipzig during the UEFA Champions League Group F match against Celtic at Red Bull Arena
Referee Espen Eskas checks the VAR screen and later disallows a goal for RB Leipzig during the UEFA Champions League Group F match against Celtic at Red Bull Arena

It is only in operation in the top flight meaning other Glasgow clubs in the lower leagues such as Partick Thistle, Queen’s Park and Clyde will have to wait. Plans for the Championship, League One and League Two are not in action at the moment.

Who pays for VAR?

As per a report by Sky Sports, Premiership clubs will pay with each club’s share of the cost dependent on their position in the league. For example, if the total price is the estimated £1.2million per season, the winners would fork out around £195k.