Livingston v Inverness Scottish Cup to be played without VAR due to prohibitive cost, says David Martindale

Livingston manager David Martindale says using VAR against Inverness does not make financial sense. Picture: by Mark Scates / SNSLivingston manager David Martindale says using VAR against Inverness does not make financial sense. Picture: by Mark Scates / SNS
Livingston manager David Martindale says using VAR against Inverness does not make financial sense. Picture: by Mark Scates / SNS
David Martindale revealed Livingston would revert to old school officiating due to the prohibitive cost of VAR for their Scottish Cup tie against Inverness on Saturday.

The support system for referees was introduced in October with the fee per season – reported as £1million-plus – shared around the 12 cinch Premiership clubs to cover league matches. However, the use of VAR in early rounds of cup matches is discretionary for home Premiership clubs, unless the tie is selected for live television, and the cost to Livi of implementing it for the Inverness visit was reported as £10,000.

Boss Martindale did not confirm the one-off cost but said: “It costs money. No disrespect to Inverness, but with the fan base both clubs have got, I don't see the point putting on a game of football that is going to cost you money.

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“We are in the business of trying to make the club sustainable, not losing money and probably by using the VAR on this occasion it is going to cost us money, so it is something we can't do. Remember that money comes out the pot that both teams split so it is a bit unfair on Inverness as well.

“We are both trying to maximise the revenue into both clubs so we will go with old-fashioned refereeing on Saturday. We are close to spending six figures to implement VAR this year. Where does it come from? It comes out of my budget – there is no other revenue stream that can come out.

“So that is going to make me less competitive going into the season, so I don't see the point of spending more money to make me less competitive. We have got away without VAR for over 100 years so I am sure we will be OK for the Scottish Cup game on Saturday."

Livingston were initially due to host Queen's Park but they were thrown out from the competition after fielding an ineligible player against Inverness. Martindale insists the change of opponent has caused little upset – “whether it was Inverness or Queen's Park, the level of details we try to put into the game is not going to change" – and recalled that Livi lost 2-1 to the Highlanders in the ViaPlay Cup earlier in the season.

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He said: “I am not underestimating the task in front of us on Saturday. Inverness is going to be a really difficult game. They will be coming here with their tails up. They beat us here earlier in the season so they will fancy their chances.”