Neil Doncaster speaks out on VAR delay as Celtic prepare for controversial season

By Lewis Laird

June 17, 2022

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster has once again backed the decision to introduce VAR midway through the 2022/23 campaign.

Next season is beginning to look a lot cleared for Ange Postecoglou and his players, with the fixtures being announced earlier this morning.

The excitement for Celtic fans will continue to build as the days pass, with just over a month until the campaign officially gets underway.

Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images

However, with that excitement, it is easy to forget some of the historic changes which are coming into the game during the season.

The video assistant referee system is expected to be in place when clubs return from the mid-season break in December due to the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

This has left many Scottish Football fans concerned and confused as to why officials in this country chose to implement the changes midway through a season rather than the beginning of this season or the next.

In usual Scottish Football fashion, there is no doubt this will lead to controversy, with clubs in the Premiership being unhappy about the consistency of decisions.

However, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster has once again come out and backed the decision to bring VAR into the game later this year.

Doncaster stated that the SPFL only want to introduce VAR to the game in this country once it is ready and insisted that Scotland wouldn’t be the first to bring the system in midway through a season.

Photo by Angelo Blankespoor/Soccrates/Getty Images

He said [Scotsman]: “It’s a product of where we are. We only want to introduce VAR when we are ready to do so. I think it’s important.

“But a number of other leagues across Europe have also implemented VAR partway through a season, so I don’t think we are doing anything particularly radical by bringing it in partway through next season.

“We were keen not to be early adopters of this technology. We have seen some of the teething problems its introduction has caused in some other leagues.

“So we were keen to ensure that we took advantage of the learnings from those leagues before we implemented it in Scotland.

“We are not quite ready to launch at the start of the season but in partnership with the Scottish FA, we are very hopeful VAR will launch partway through the season and hopefully achieve less controversy than perhaps we have seen in recent seasons.

“But it’s a difficult job the refs have, so any support they can have, I’m sure, will be appreciated.”

Photo by Jeff Holmes/Getty Images

The decision to bring in VAR was controversial enough

The introduction of VAR certainly isn’t for everyone.

As a football fan, who regularly attends games, there is the argument that it could worsen the atmosphere at grounds across the country with time.

But, you can see why there is a need for it within the Scottish game due to the amount of controversy surrounding refereeing decisions.

That controversy will only be added to going into next season when VAR is only used in the second half of the season and not the first. It’s an imbalance.

The league title, European spots or relegation could come down to the finest of margins. So surely it should be with or without VAR for an entire season?

Either way, you can guarantee there will be plenty of talking points for pundits next season, which will constantly be discussed, to our annoyance.

In other news, Alexandro Bernabei to Celtic update as Lanus set asking price.