Hartlepool United fan starts petition for VAR to be scrapped in FA Cup over £4,625 bill to clubs
Hartlepool United fan Dave Sutheran has started a petition calling for Video Assistant Referee (VAR) replays to be abolished in cup games as smaller clubs have to fork out almost £5,000 to pay for it.
Pools are due to play in their first ever game featuring the controversial system when they take on Premier League team Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, February 5.
But Dave, 59, who has supported the team home and away for 50 years, has launched an online petition after it emerged that the £9,250 cost of VAR is classed as a match expense, meaning both sides pay half from their gate receipts.
He says it hits smaller clubs like Hartlepool and says VAR – which is only available at top-flight grounds – should be abolished for all FA Cup and League Cup matches.
The cost was highlighted after non-league Chesterfield played at Chelsea in the FA Cup last weekend.
Dave said: “The Chesterfield chairman said it was only when the paperwork came through he realised it was being deducted off their take off the gate.
“It’s pretty scandalous really. If the game was at Pools VAR wouldn’t come into it.
"It should be banned from the FA Cup. It’s not just Hartlepool it affects, it is all lower league clubs.
"It is going to be the thick end of £5,000 which is not to be sniffed at from Pools’ point of view.”
VAR involves match officials using technology to review key moments and decisions during matches such as penalty claims and if goals are offside.
An FA spokesperson was quoted in a statement saying: “All ties hosted at Premier League stadiums in the 2021-22 Emirates FA Cup will have video assistant referees as only Premier League grounds are currently licensed to use VAR technology.
"Its cost of £9,250 is a match expense, and is therefore shared equally by the competing clubs from gate receipts.”
Dave, a semi-retired delivery driver, is hoping to reach 100 names to bring the petition to the attention of Hartlepool MP Jill Mortimer.
"I’ve sent emails off to other supporter groups trying to get them to sign it,” he added.
Dave’s petition titled “Financial equality for all participants in FA Cup” can be found at website change.org.