The upcoming 2023 season in the “Optibet” Super League will also be special in that, for the first time in history, the Latvian football championship will also have a VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system.
The Latvian Football Federation (LFF) informs that it is planned to serve one game at a time in the first round of the Premier League. During the season, it is possible to increase the number of games served to 72 matches. The number of games served is determined by the fact that currently there is only one minibus adapted for VAR use in Latvia.
The decision to which matches to send the VAR team will be made by the LFF staff responsible for the refereeing segment. During the season, two principles will be applied in the selection of VAR games – the same number of VAR games for all teams and the sporting principle.
“There are different countries’ experience, and each of the two principles of game selection has its own pros and cons. On the one hand, the same number of games would be good, but on the other hand, the sporting principles must be taken into account. If we already foresee that VAR should be sent in the fall to a game in which nothing will be decided for any of the teams, it probably wouldn’t be right. Therefore, most likely, at the end of the season, sports intrigue will be evaluated in the standings, choosing a game to send VAR to. But ideologically, of course, there is a desire, so that each of the teams has about the same number of games with VAR,” says Treimanis in a conversation with LFF.
Currently, it is planned that VAR will be able to be used in the stadiums of all Premier League clubs, although there are some complications in a couple of stadiums, which the LFF is working with the clubs to resolve.
“VAR will use replays from all the cameras that will provide live coverage of the game, plus an additional two 16-meter cameras, which is a mandatory FIFA requirement for the use of VAR,” says Triemanis.
Currently, before the upcoming season, there are eight certified head referees who are preparing to work in the new Premier League season. The same eight can also be VAR referees, as well as eight VAR assistant referees trained and prepared to work with VAR.
The new Super League season will start on March 11, or less than a month later.