VAR changes for penalties, offsides, handballs ahead of new PL season | OneFootball

VAR changes for penalties, offsides, handballs ahead of new PL season

Logo: OneFootball


Lewis Ambrose

Another Premier League season begins in under two weeks, which means VAR discussions are once again just around the corner.

This time, though, they’re likely to look a little different.

The use of VAR is set to be reduced, or at least become less forensic, in the 2021/22 campaign. Here are the key changes as confirmed by referees’ chief Mike Riley.


“Contact on its own is only part of the what referees should look for,” said Riley, who explained the contact must be consequential and players trying to take advantage of it to win a foul should not be rewarded.

“If you’ve got clear contact that has a consequence, that’s what you’ve got to penalise. If you’ve any doubt in those elements, you’re less likely to be penalised.”


The benefit of doubt will be restored for attacking sides.

“The toenails and noses that might have been offside last year won’t be next season,” said Riley, who believes 20 goals were disallowed in 2020/21 but would count in 2021/22.

“We will carry on following the same process as last year, so you’ll apply the pixel lines, place the attacking line and defending line on top, and then the thicker broadcast lines. But where they overlap those, situations will now be deemed as onside.”


There will be a greater focus on the movement on the hand/arm and whether or not it is in a natural position.

This should reduce the numbers of handballs being harshly penalised.

Accidental handballs leading to goals have been changed and goals will only be disallowed if the handball was immediately after the ball touches a hand or arm.