Study shows where Burnley would have finished in the Premier League table without VAR

Research has found that Burnley would have finished ninth in the Premier League if the season had been played without VAR.

The revised league table
The revised league table

The Clarets, despite finishing with a point less, would have finished above Spurs, who were the team to benefit most in terms of points from decisions which went to the video assistant referee at Stockley Park, earning eight more.

The study also shows that Wolves would have finished fourth - replacing Manchester United in the Champions League.

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VAR goal decisions influenced the overall result of matches in 79 of the 380 league games, or 21%.

Sean Dyche and his staff

Newcastle United were the only team to finish the season ‘VAR-neutral’.

Research also found that Liverpool would have remained champions and Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City would still have been relegated to the Championship.

After analysing the effects of VAR on all goal decisions across the extended 2019/20 season, Global Institute of Sport (GIS) academic Chris Winn, who formerly co-authored the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance, found that without VAR Wolves would have finished seven points and three positions better off to claim Champions League football for the first time – and potentially earning themselves a European windfall in the process.

The Midlands side would have replaced Manchester United in next year’s competition, who gained two extra points via VAR goal decisions, with the Red Devils finishing 5th in a VAR-less table.

Winn's’ research also found that VAR goal decisions influenced the overall result of matches, or number of goals scored, in 79 of the 380 league games – 21% in total.

Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham were the team to benefit the most in the points column via VAR, finding themselves eight points better off than they would have been without it.

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Spurs fell to 10th in a VAR-less table, meaning they would have missed out on European football for the first time in over a decade. A VAR-less table would also have seen Sheffield United finishing 7th, potentially earning a Europa League place depending on the outcome of the upcoming FA Cup Final.

However, the research did show that Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool would still have marched to the title and that Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City would have been relegated to the Championship.

The only club to end the season ‘VAR-neutral’ was Newcastle United, who weren’t directly affected by a VAR goal decision in the points or goal difference column.

Chris commented: “Armpits, shoulders, and shoelaces aside, VAR is in all likelihood here to stay. With technology already established in the beautiful game, there is no reason why VAR cannot do the same. But changes will be needed this summer to provide greater clarity on both its operation and criteria for intervention.”

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He added: “Given an element of Premier League domestic broadcast distributions are based on league position, clubs may be better or worse off by c.£2m per league positon changed based on this measure alone, whilst the financial impact of the merit-based portion of international broadcast rights remains to be seen in its first year of operation.

“However, it’s likely that Wolves will feel most aggrieved for the introduction of VAR, with Liverpool and Spurs both collecting in excess of €100m in broadcast payments alone in their runs through to the Champions League final in 2018/19.”

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