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VAR to be introduced in top tier of Welsh football

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VAR is set to be introduced in the top tier of Welsh football, it has been announced. 

The move is part of the Cymru Premier’s aim to improve the league both on and off the pitch.

VAR Lite is described as a cost-effective solution to video assistant refereeing, designed for matches with fewer than eight cameras.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said its introduction was part of an investment package worth more than £739,500 in the on-field product.

The FAW says that money will also cover professional contracts for players, a review of the loan system, greater contact time with players and enhanced support programmes for clubs in European competitions.

In January, Gary Lineker faced criticism for describing the top flight of Welsh football as a “farmer’s league”.

Video assistant referees (VARs) have proved controversial among fans of teams in leagues where they are already used.

This week, Nottingham Forest accused a VAR of being a Luton Town fan after the club lost to Everton 2-0.

The Premier League admitted in February that VAR delays were spoiling football fans’ enjoyment of the game.

As part of the changes to the Cymru Premier, a format change from the 2026/27 season will see the competition become a Friday night league in what the FAW has dubbed an “exciting” move.

Currently, games are played on Tuesday and Friday evenings, as well as Saturdays and Sundays.

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Targets to grow the league include increasing the average league attendance to over 1,000 by April 2030.

There was heartbreak for the Wales national team last month when Rob Page’s men failed to qualify for Euro 2024 after losing in a playoff to Poland on penalties.

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