There is no VAR for West Ham in the Europa Conference League this season unless the Hammers make the final.

West Ham face Viborg over two legs for the right to make the Europa Conference League group stage proper.

The first leg takes place at the London Stadium on Thursday evening with West Ham in desperate need of a morale boosting first win of the season.

A trio of key men will be missing when West Ham take on the Danish side on Thursday night.

And VAR will be missing too at the London Stadium.

Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

Because there will be no VAR for West Ham in Europa Conference League unless the Hammers make the final and here’s why.

Europa Conference League rules state that in principle VAR may only be used in the semi-finals and final of the competition.

There is the potential for that to change should UEFA decide to allow VAR in other matches or not at all in the competition.

Article 50.3 of the UEFA Europa Conference League regulations on VAR reads: “In principle, VARs may only be used in the final.

A UEFA logo is seen with Geneva Lake and
Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

“However, UEFA may decide to use VARs in other matches as well, or not to use VARs in the final.

“Should it prove necessary for whatever reason, matches may start and/or finish without the use of VARs, and any failure, unavailability, use or non-use of the VAR technology will in no way prejudice the validity of the referee’s decisions, with such decisions being final in all cases.”

There will be no VAR on Thursday and UEFA has stated, at this stage, they only plan to use VAR in the final.

The implementation of VAR does not come cheap. For context, two years ago the FA rulebook outlined the cost to be upwards of £12.26m a season for VAR to be implemented in the Championship.

West Ham United v Olympique Lyon: Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Europa League
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The Europa Conference League, as West Ham are quickly finding out, is a competition geared towards the minnows of Europe and inferior European leagues.

Therefore UEFA has ruled VAR will not be used in the Conference League until the final, which is being held at Slavia Prague’s stadium.

West Ham’s players and staff have already talked about targeting making the final and hopefully winning the competition.

In theory the lack of VAR should neither help nor hinder the Hammers.

But based on the events of last season where some questionable calls reviewed by VAR cost West Ham dear, it is understandable that Hammers fans, Moyes and his players may welcome the news there is no VAR.

Eintracht Frankfurt v West Ham United: Semi Final Leg Two - UEFA Europa League
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Aaron Cresswell for example saw red after VAR reviews against both Lyon and Eintracht Frankfurt. He had only been yellow-carded in Frankfurt as the ref deemed West Ham had a covering defender. But he changed it to a red after an on-field VAR review.

On the flip side, though, West Ham – for example – would not have had the penalty awarded to them against Forest at the weekend if it were not for VAR.

And the Hammers would have found themselves 2-0 down were it not for the video tech’s intervention.

In the same game Said Benrahma had a goal ruled out after a hugely debatable VAR review surrounding the supposed foul by Michail Antonio.

West Ham United v Rapid Wien: Group H - UEFA Europa League
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

In some ways it may be a blessed relief for West Ham supporters who, likes other fans across the country, have noted how much more enjoyable they find early domestic cup matches involving lower league sides when it means there is no VAR.

The risk of being undone by an irreversible poor refereeing decision or linesman’s call is now very real for West Ham in the Conference League.

But West Ham could hardly argue they were better off for VAR last season.

It will certainly make the games flow better.


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