A-League fans will have a better understanding of VAR decisions this season thanks to the introduction of a graphics and data information system.
In quashing rumours that the VAR system would not be in operation for the new A-League men’s season starting on Friday week, Australian Professional Leagues chief executive officer Danny Townsend said instead that spending on VAR had increased to $1.5 million.
The increase is due to the implementation of VARdict, a Hawk-Eye graphics and data reporting system that will “enable” broadcasters to explain in detail to fans at home and at grounds what a VAR decision looks like.
“VARdict will help explain and show why VAR decisions have been made, which will particularly help fans at A-League games who often don’t know why there has been a VAR ruling,” Townsend said.
“I know some people don’t like VAR but it’s needed.”
Townsend also confirmed that Auckland’s entry into the 2024-25 A-League was likely to be confirmed by the end of the week after Football Australia ratified the entry of a second New Zealand club into the competition.
However, the addition of a Canberra club to the 2024-25 men’s A-League competition won’t be confirmed until after the start of the upcoming season.
The 2023-24 men’s and women’s A-League seasons were launched in Sydney on Tuesday, with Melbourne City skipper Jamie Maclaren promising to “entertain” as part of an A-League push to attract fans.
Hot to the heels of the hugely successful FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil, and with the Socceroos’ memorable display at last year’s World Cup still in the minds of football fans, there are high hopes for the A-League.
The women’s competition, which won’t have the VAR system, kicks off on Saturday with matches in Gosford and Sydney, while the men’s season starts the following Friday when champions Central Coast Mariners visit Coopers Stadium to meet Adelaide United.
“We look forward to getting more bums on seats – that’s the most important thing,” Socceroos marksman Maclaren said.
“It’s up to us to entertain.”
A-League commissioner Nick Garcia said: “We couldn’t be more excited about this season, with more teams, more players and more action from some of Australia and New Zealand’s best talent.
“We are immensely proud that so many Socceroos and Matildas were developed in the A-League, and we’ve already seen there’s a fresh wave of talent aiming to follow in those footsteps through starring in stadiums up and down the country over the coming weeks and months.”