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Video Assistant Referee to be trialled for the first time but not without controversy

For the first time, a competitive football game will use a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to help determine the outcome of key incidents.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton said he did not expect the technology to eradicate controversy from football, and hopes it will not disrupt the flow of the game.

VAR will be trialled in a competitive game in England for the first time on Monday evening when Hughton’s "Seagulls" host rivals Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup.

The system is designed to help referees with key incidents, such as a goal, penalty or red card, as well as cases of mistaken identity.

While Hughton recognises the need to try the technology, he is reserving judgement on how effective it will be.

“Am I a fan of it? I think you have to wait for the end product on that one,” replied Hughton when asked about VAR. “But I understand the reason why we’re doing it, why we’re trying it.

“Every time there’s a bad decision, there’s a clamour for better technology.

“I am probably a bit more of a traditionalist, that we do have a game and for as long as we can remember there are always going to be controversies and whether it was a penalty or not, or whether that ball was over the line.

“I don’t think any technology will clear it completely because still in some of our technology there is somebody that has to make a decision and we’ve already seen that you can have one panellist think completely differently to another.

“Whatever new ways that we have to improve our game, you eventually get used to it but I still think we don’t want anything which is going to slow down our game too much.”

Other Premier League managers have already expressed their scepticism regarding VAR, including Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson and Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe.

There have also been suggestions related to how to further utilise the technology, such as giving managers a set number of challenges per game, similar to the system used in tennis.

However, Hughton - who was briefed on VAR on Friday - has no desire to be involved and feels it could over complicate matters.

“My personal opinion is to keep managers out of it,” he said. “We are always going to have different opinions and there are always going to opinions you want to go in your favour, it’s your team.

“Once we start opening up to too many suggestion on ways we can make the best decisions then it’s almost never ending.”

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