By N.Carroll June 16, 2017
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Football fans have sent a strong message to the Football Association around the proposed use of video assistant referees (VAR).

In a poll undertaken by Sports Marketing Intelligence (SMI) with active supporters across the United Kingdom, an overwhelming 86% of fans were in favour of implementing the new system.

The data also showed that 84% of those who supported the technology indicated the main reason for their choice was to ensure the correct on-field decisions were being made. 

Despite the significant costs associated with implementing such a review process, fans were almost unanimously unconcerned about the financial implications, with less than 1% selecting it as their major concern.

Further results of the sports industry research showed that the most common reason for being against the new system was due to the potential of slowing a game down, representing 44% of the negative vote.

Video assistant referees have already been trialled internationally over the past 12 months, most notably in March's France v Spain international as well as England's recent friendly against Les Bleus.

The Football Association has reportedly discussed the potential of trialling the system in the 2017 Community Shield match, as well as in 2017/18 FA Cup ties.

Other significant data correlations among the surveyed fans included:

  • 95% of female respondents were in favour of the introduction of VAR.
  • The 18-24 age group had the highest percentage in favour of VAR (94%).
  • The 35-44 age group had the highest percentage against VAR (23%)
  • Season ticket holders were more likely to oppose due to the potential of VAR slowing the game down.
  • Respondents living outside urban areas were more likely to oppose VAR as it is not in the traditional spirit of the game.

SMI are specialist market researchers for the sports industry. For more information about our polls, surveys, online communities and sponsorship solutions, visit the SMI services page or contact our dedicated team.