Pompey bids for new floodlights that would allow for VAR technology

The old lights being removed. Picture by Colin Farmery
The old lights being removed. Picture by Colin Farmery
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VAR technology could be coming to Fratton Park in a bid to 'future-proof' Portsmouth Football Club.

Next week city councillors will consider granting permission for new floodlights at the Pompey stadium, making it compatible with video assistant referee (VAR).

The old floodlights being taken down. Picture by Colin Farmery

The old floodlights being taken down. Picture by Colin Farmery

The system, which was used at the 2018 Fifa World Cup and the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup, allows pitch referees to check controversial decisions such as offsides and potential fouls.

For chief executive officer of Pompey, Mark Catlin, the technology was needed to match the club's aspirations to enter the Championship.  'In regards to making the stadium compatible for VAR, we are future-proofing the club,' he said.

'They're bringing VAR into the Premiership this year and in a year or two that could be the Championship, which is where we aspire to be.'

It comes after the club's iconic 57-year-old floodlights were removed in June this year. They were switched off for the final time after a play-off against Sunderland in May.

However, one of the lights, from the north-west side, will be relocated to the north stand car park as a reminder of the Blues' history.

The new lights will come from eight columns positioned along the south stand. 

Mark added: 'The biggest reason to change the lights is from a health and safety perspective. Year on year the lights were taking more maintenance - they were decaying.

'Building the lights into the stadium is better for everyone. For nearby residents all the light will remain within the stadium causing less light pollution. And as the lights will be at a lower level it provides easier access.

'With the old lights it took a lot of work when a bulb needed replacing.

'All the other parts of the stadium have this type of lighting so this is the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle.'

As part of the application a new TV gantry will also be built for the south stand, allowing broadcasters more space to work.

Councillors will decide on the application at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday, 17th July.