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Soccer Premier League clubs filling arenas with own cameras before VAR arrives

In his irritation at losing to Tottenham last month, Mauricio Sarri challenged an offside ruling by producing evidence from Chelsea’s own camera angles.

Lines were drawn across the footage, which was produced during the post-match interview to cast doubt on the official video assistant referee ruling on Harry Kane’s winner in the English League Cup semifinal first leg. The offside markings were rudimentary and disputed by the refereeing body.

But it showed how even with the advent of VAR – used only in some League Cup and FA Cup matches in England – clubs will seek to challenge the official technology deployed by competition organizers to check decision-making.

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Now, even more technology will be at the disposal of some clubs – and fans – in time for VAR’s debut in the Premier League next season.

Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester City have signed deals with Intel to bring its True View system to stadiums. Using 38 5K ultra-high-definition cameras, with no link to the main broadcast feeds using the VARs, 360-degree replays will be created from any angle.

Intel says the video recreations of incidents will give pundits and fans a new “insight into the tactics and decisions made by players.”

Inevitably, those by referees, too.

The Premier League hopes footage won’t be used to challenge their decisions, especially as the system isn’t calibrated for refereeing purposes.

But it will give new angles on dives, tackles, handballs, and offside. Not just for fans to share on social media to moan about calls, but also for coaches to replay key moments from their chosen angles.

What clubs want to talk about publicly is how the technology provides a fresh route to engaging with fans. The footage will also be an additional analytics tool for teams like Arsenal, which is trying to move back into the top four Champions League qualification places.

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“From a technical side, our playing staff have access to different viewing technology,” Arsenal commercial director Peter Silverstone told The Associated Press. “I’m sure when they see this they will use and want access to this ... because we’ll have all the content and we’ll be editing accordingly. But from an officiating perspective, that’s not our position or focus at the minute.”

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