VAR can be a change for the better
RAFA Benitez is hopeful VAR will ‘protect the good players’ ahead of its trial at St James’ Park for the first time this afternoon.
VAR is set to be rolled out at five Premier League games today, including Newcastle’s clash with Arsenal.
However, while officials in the VAR hub will treat the match ‘as live’ they will have no influence on the match referee’s decision.
The technology may be brought into the Premier League next season if these trials are successful and Benitez admitted it will change the game massively - but not necessarily negatively.
He said: “It can change but it is not crucial.
“The positive thing it brings is that even without making a decision you know they are watching you.
“So bad tackles, you know that they are watching. If it protects the good players then I think it is positive.”
VAR has already been introduced for numerous competitions, including Ligue 1, the Bundesliga and FA Cup ties played at Premier League grounds.
However, the Premier League voted against introducing VAR for the 2018/19 campaign and instead waited to see how successful it was at the World Cup over the summer.
During the World Cup there were numerous decisions made with the help of VAR, causing controversy and tension among pundits and fans.
Despite the split in reaction for a lot of decisions, however, the technology did have a positive impact on many key events throughout the World Cup.
Benitez added: “You can see the stats and I have checked them for the World Cup and they were much better.
“The decisions were better and you have more penalties.
“There were 20 in the other World Cup and 29 in the last one, so that means nine more penalties because you have more control.”
Benitez attended a UEFA Elite Club Coaches’ Forum meeting in Nyon last week and said there were discussions about the introduction of VAR, revealing he was invited to see how the technology worked here in England.