Swedish FA not considering VAR after clubs raise objections

Sweden’s top leagues will not look to implement a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system after clubs voiced their opposition to the technology, Swedish Football Association (SvFF) chairman Fredrik Reinfeldt said.

VAR has consistently been at the centre of controversy in leagues where it has been introduced, with complaints ranging from its extensive analysis of close offside calls to delays that often last several minutes.

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In July 2023, the Swedish Professional Football Leagues, which represents clubs in the top two divisions of Swedish football, said a majority of clubs in the country “actively opposed” the introduction of VAR.

Clubs in Sweden’s Allsvenskan are required to be at least 51% owned by their fans.

“If I counted correctly, we have 18 elite clubs and two districts that have said they do not want to introduce VAR,” Reinfeldt, the former prime minister of Sweden, told the Aftonbladet newspaper in an interview published on Thursday.

“We respect that. That’s why we didn’t bring forward any proposal about VAR to the previous board of representatives meeting and I don’t foresee it in the future either. I stand by respecting the democratic rules of the game.”

Reinfeldt, who last year said that VAR was “the future,” has been criticised by fans for his stance on the issue.

The 58-year-old said that when he made those comments there were discussions that UEFA could make the implementation of VAR mandatory.

“I don’t think so now, from what I’ve heard, so then it is up to us to make the decision,” he added.

The SvFF’s stance means that the Allsvenskan will be the only league UEFA’s top 30 divisions to reject VAR.