UEFA have announced a change to the VAR system for Chelsea’s Champions League clash against Sevilla on Wednesday night.
Frank Lampard’s side travel to face the Europa League winners for a game, which could be crucial in determining who tops Group E, with both sides having already qualified for the last 16.
VAR has caused much controversy since it has been brought into the game, with Liverpool and Aston Villa having been on the wrong end of decisions in the Premier League over the weekend.
But the video assistant referee is here to stay, and European football chiefs have announced that Wednesday’s game at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán will be the first to test a new remote system.
Since the introduction of VAR, the majority of domestic leagues across Europe have been operating the system from remote centres, away from the stadiums – as happens in the Premier League.
UEFA initially used on-site VAR due to the international format of its competitions.
But Europe’s governing body has announced it has successfully tested and approved a remote technical solution based at its headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
The new system will be implemented officially for the first time when Sevilla host Chelsea, with Portuguese referee Artur Dias assisted from Nyon by his compatriots, VAR Tiago Bruno Lopes Martins and assistant VAR Luís Miguel Branco Godinho.
A back-up VAR system will also be in operation at the stadium, manned by substitute VARs Paolo Valeri and Ciro Carbone, both from Italy, who can be called upon in case of any connectivity issues.
Villa were the latest side to fall foul of VAR in the Premier League after striker Ollie Watkins was denied a last-gasp equaliser in Monday night’s defeat to West Ham, after his upper arm was deemed to be offside.
VAR also played a major role in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Brighton on Saturday, with the Seagulls equalising from an added-time penalty after Andy Robertson was judged to have fouled Danny Welbeck.
In the Champions League, Manchester City have also suffered at the hands of contentious VAR calls in their exits against Lyon and Tottenham over the past two seasons.
It remains to be seen whether UEFA’s change will attract any less controversy than the previous system in place. – Mirror Sport