Wembley’s way to avoid Carabao Cup confusion will be VAR alert on big screens

Fans at Sunday’s Carabao Cup final will be told if the video assistant referee (VAR) is reviewing a decision by a graphic on Wembley’s electronic screens, the English Football League has confirmed.

The simple message will say ‘VAR Review’, and would have been used during the competition’s semi-finals but there were no long reviews in those games.

The match between Arsenal and Manchester City will be English football’s biggest game yet to use video review, and one of the main criticisms so far has been that supporters at matches are not aware of what is happening when play stops for a review.

This complaint has also been raised in other countries, such as Australia, Germany and Italy, where VARs have been piloted for much longer.

Sunday’s VAR will be Neil Swarbrick, who oversaw both semi-final ties between Arsenal and Chelsea. His assistant VAR will be Peter Kirkup.

Swarbrick was the VAR who ruled out Juan Mata’s strike for Manchester United in last weekend’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at Huddersfield.

That tight decision, while correct, provoked considerable debate when Hawk-Eye, the system’s technology-provider, gave the game’s broadcaster BT a graphic with wonky lines appearing to show Mata was offside.

Swarbrick, however, used straight lines to make his decision and Hawk-Eye has said broadcasters will be given the correct graphic from now on.

Craig Pawson has been named as referee for Sunday’s game, with Gary Beswick and Adam Nunn as his assistants, and Graham Scott on fourth-official duty.

Pawson was at the centre of another of this season’s VAR controversies when he reviewed several decisions during West Brom’s 3-1 FA Cup win at Liverpool.

The decisions, which included a disallowed goal and the awarding of a disputed penalty, were right but they took a long time on a cold night, angering fans and both managers.

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