This Sunday, Emily Heaslip will don the headset as the video assistant referee in the pioneering application of VAR technology at a Women’s Super League (WSL) venue. The historic test run will unfold during Chelsea’s exhibition match against AS Roma, taking place at the Kingsmeadow stadium.
The oversight of this groundbreaking tech trial falls under the jurisdiction of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and the Football Association (FA).
According to Bibi Steinhaus-Webb, a former German elite referee and currently PGMOL’s Women’s Select Group Director, “This is a progressive phase in the ongoing VAR tech evaluations within the scope of women’s football. The assimilation of VAR into the women’s game has been a long time coming, with officials continuously engaging in both academic and practical training sessions, including confidential rehearsals.”
Steinhaus-Webb went on to elaborate: “Should the Chelsea vs. AS Roma showdown this weekend require the extra layer of VAR scrutiny, rest assured, it’ll be on standby. The symbiotic relationship between on-pitch officials and the VAR team will be paramount to arriving at accurate judgments.”
When the whistle blows at 8pm British Standard Time, Abi Byrne will command the field as the matchday referee. Alongside her, Emily Heaslip and Chloe-Ann Small will man the VAR and assistant VAR stations, respectively, straight from PGMOL’s VAR nerve center at Stockley Park, situated near the bustling heart of London.
Worth noting, Heaslip previously took on the role of referee during the Women’s FA Cup final this past May, where VAR technology played a significant role. Specifically, it was utilized to validate the disqualification of a goal from United’s Leah Galton and to resolve whether a foul on Nikita Parris should result in a free kick rather than a penalty kick.
Hannah Buckley, the FA’s Senior Facilities and Projects Manager, described the VAR experiment as “an integral part of our evolving strategy to prep referees and clubs for the plausible, broader rollout of VAR tech in the near future.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about VAR in Women’s Super League
What is the main focus of this article?
The main focus of this article is the first-ever use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology at a Women’s Super League (WSL) stadium. The trial is set to take place during a pre-season friendly between Chelsea and AS Roma.
Who is overseeing the VAR trial?
The VAR technology trial is being overseen by Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and the Football Association (FA).
When and where will this VAR trial take place?
The VAR trial will happen on a Sunday at the Kingsmeadow Stadium, during a pre-season friendly match between Chelsea and AS Roma. The match is scheduled to start at 8pm BST.
Who will be the VAR and assistant VAR officials?
Emily Heaslip will act as the main VAR official, while Chloe-Ann Small will be the assistant VAR. Both will operate from PGMOL’s VAR facility at Stockley Park, near London.
What is the viewpoint of PGMOL’s Women’s Select Group Director on this?
Bibi Steinhaus-Webb, PGMOL’s Women’s Select Group Director, sees this as a significant step in ongoing VAR evaluations within women’s football. She emphasizes the importance of teamwork between on-field officials and the VAR team for correct decision-making.
Has VAR been used in women’s football before?
Yes, VAR was first used in an English women’s domestic game during the 2023 FA Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United.
What was VAR’s role in the Women’s FA Cup final?
In the Women’s FA Cup final, VAR was used to confirm the nullification of a goal by Manchester United’s Leah Galton and to clarify that a foul on Nikita Parris should result in a free-kick instead of a penalty.
What is the FA’s future plan regarding VAR in women’s football?
Hannah Buckley, the FA’s Senior Facilities and Projects Manager, stated that the trial will contribute to ongoing work aimed at preparing match officials and clubs for the potential wider implementation of VAR technology in the future.
More about VAR in Women’s Super League
- Official PGMOL Statement on VAR in Women’s Football
- Football Association’s Take on VAR Technology
- Chelsea FC’s Official Announcement
- AS Roma’s Response to the VAR Trial
- BBC Women’s Football News
- Previous Use of VAR in Women’s FA Cup Final
- Stockley Park: The VAR Hub
- Kingsmeadow Stadium Info
- Referee Abi Byrne’s Profile