Report: Celtic, Scottish Premiership clubs made to wait on VAR

By Euan Davidson

January 14, 2022

Celtic and the rest of the Scottish Premiership are facing a delay on a vote for VAR, according a report.

Today’s issue of the Times [print edition, 14/1/22, p. 73] says Celtic and the SPFL were due to sit down for talks about introducing the technology early next month.

However, the report states that the vote, already a long time coming, is being moved to April. That’s so the SPFL can verify all their research and “gather all the necessary information” before a vote can be taken.

Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

There is, according to the report, “general enthusiasm” for VAR in the Scottish Premiership.

Scotland lags way behind other European league in terms of Video Assistant Refereeing. There are Scottish refereeing controversies on a weekly basis. Yesterday, Paul McGinn was suspended for Monday’s game against Celtic for criticising John Beaton after the Premier Sports Cup Final.

Each of Europe’s top leagues have had VAR in use for at least two seasons [BBC]. Celtic, though, have only experienced it in UEFA competitions. Notably, Kyogo won a penalty against Bayer Leverkusen through VAR, while Albian Ajeti’s goal against Real Betis was allowed after a VAR check.

However, Scotland still lags behind, and will do so for even longer.

Critics of VAR have included Chris Sutton. The former Celtic striker doesn’t mind the technology itself, however. He believes, instead, that Scottish referees lack the competency to use it effectively.

The SPFL give Ange what he wants as Jota returns to training | Scott McDonald on 67 Hail Hail

The SPFL give Ange what he wants as Jota returns to training | Scott McDonald on 67 Hail Hail
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Celtic, Scottish Premiership clubs wait for SPFL to fact-find, but what more is there to know?

This, to me, seems utterly baffling. It’s not just about Celtic, this; the whole league is miles behind most of Europe in terms of refereeing.

Any club in the Scottish Premiership will tell you about the wrong calls they’ve had against them this season. It goes beyond partisanship, too. It’s no secret that refereeing controversies are commonplace with every round of fixtures in the Scottish Premiership.

We take it as read. And while VAR doesn’t automatically fix everything, it’s hard to know what more needs to be found out.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The SPFL chiefs surely have ample evidence that VAR would benefit the Scottish game. It would surely take pressure off the often-lambasted referees, who can critically review big decisions. It would take some onus off the SFA’s Disciplinary Committee, who can provide evidence to substantiate their rulings in a public forum.

It’s hard to know why this hasn’t been done yet. But Celtic and the rest of the Scottish Premiership won’t see VAR for quite a while yet.

Read more: Celtic heralded by Hull City legend for “fantastic” treatment of Joey Dawson