Rafa Benitez reacts to VAR trial at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez has delivered his verdict
Rafa Benitez has delivered his verdict

Rafa Benitez has welcomed the first use of VAR at St James’s Park.

The Premier League opted against introducing video assistant referee technology, used at the World Cup this summer, earlier this year.

We were talking (at the UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum) in Nyon about that, and it’s quite dangerous if you don’t make a decision here and then you concede a goal there.

Rafa Benitez

However, the system, which is used in Spain and Italy, will be tested in five 3pm top-flight games this afternoon, including Newcastle United’s home fixture against Arsenal.

VAR officials, based at Stockley Park, near Heathrow, will not be in contact with the match referee.

“Any decisions made at the VAR hub will not be communicated to referee Lee Probert.

“It will be tested, but it won’t influence the game,” said United manager Benitez.

“We have been talking about it for a while now. I think it’s right that you make less mistakes.

“The way to do it, the way to use it, is the key now. You cannot analyse every single problem and you have to be quick enough to be sure that you don’t stop the game.

“We were talking (at the UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum) in Nyon about that, and it’s quite dangerous if you don’t make a decision here and then you concede a goal there.

“After you do the review, it means you have to disallow the goal and go back.

“It’s quite complicated and very difficult, but you can see the stats and I’ve checked them for the World Cup and they were much better.

“The decisions were much better, and you have more penalties.

“I think there were 20 in the other World Cup and 29 in the last one, so that means nine more penalties, because you have more control.”

Benitez also believes that VAR will reduce the number of bad tackles.

“The positive thing it brings is that even without making a decision, you know that they are watching you,” said Benitez.

“So bad tackles, you know that they are watching. If it protects the good players, then I think it’s positive.”

If this and future trials are successful, the Premier League could introduce VAR technology next season.