FA Cup: Why Two Systems of VAR Are Being Used As Chelsea, Man United Eye Last 8 Spots

FA Cup: Why Two Systems of VAR Are Being Used As Chelsea, Man United Eye Last 8 Spots

Martin Moses
updated at February 28, 2024 at 9:57 AM
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FA Cup
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Manchester United
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  • The VAR will be used selectively in the FA Cup
  • This has brought about questions of integrity
  • Sports Brief explains this use of two systems

The fifth round of the FA Cup kicked off on Monday, February 26, with Maidstone's fairytale run coming to a crashing end at the hands of Coventry. The National League side were beaten 5-0.

Manchester City, Newcastle United, and Leicester City then followed suit on Thursday, with other heavyweights like Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool in action on Wednesday evening.

FA Cup, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Maidstone United
An LED board shows a VAR message during the FA fourth-round replay match between Nottingham Forest and Bristol City on February 7. Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA.
Source: Getty Images

But amid the intrigues of the oldest competition in England, fans will realise that the Video Assistant Referee(VAR) is being used subjectively across the different stadiums.

As the Independent reports, the technology was used for the first time this season in the third round, but only a couple of games had it in place.

The discrepancy has brought about questions of fairness on grounds where the VAR isn't deployed. This begs the question of why some games won't have the backup of the technology.

Is the VAR used in the FA Cup?

The VAR was first trialled in the FA Cup in 218, but the competition has never applied to the International Football Association Board (IFAB) for use across all games.

It is only available on Premier League grounds, but Championship and non-league sides like Maidstone don't have VAR installed in their stadiums due to its high cost.

The gulf in costs will, therefore, see the VAR used only in Premier League grounds: Chelsea vs Leeds, Bournemouth vs Leicester, Luton vs Manchester City, Nottingham Forest vs Manchester United, and Wolves vs Brighton.

Even teams who were recently relegated, like Leeds United or Southampton, won't be able to use the technology should they host FA Cup games because their championship status robs them of the licence to use it.

The selective application of rules compromises the integrity of sports, which the FA addressed last year.

"Video assistant referees provide match officials with additional support and should be utilised wherever possible. However, only Premier League stadiums are currently licensed to use VAR due to the infrastructure, workforce and costs that are required," the FA said, as quoted by the Guardian.

What other competitions do

It is not understood why the FA Cup didn't opt to go the route of the Carabao Cup. EFL chose to scrap the VAR in cases where one team in the round was from the Championship and didn't have access to it.

This season's semi-finals saw Middlesbrough face Chelsea while Fulham took on Liverpool. But since the VAR isn't available at the Riverside stadium, EFL cancelled the use of the technology in its entirety to promote fairness.

Erling Haaland's highest-scoring games

In Manchester City's trip to Luton Town, Erling Haaland grabbed five goals as the defending champions thrashed the hosts 6-2 to qualify for the last 8.

His impressive form in front of goal wasn't the first time he has scored five or more goals, with Sports Brief listing Haaland's highest-scoring games.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)