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Premier League official statement promises these improvements to VAR after Thursday shareholders meeting

3 weeks ago
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Fair to say that the introduction of VAR hasn’t gone too smoothly in the Premier League.

Quite ridiculous really when you consider that the English PL  is the last major European league to introduce it, after supposedly ironing out flaws last season as they trialled the system, without it being used to actually influence those games.

The use of technology is surely a no-brainer these days but as we have discovered, just like so many other things, the authorities haven’t been too clever in its implementation.

On Thursday there has been a meeting of Premier League clubs and the referees organisation PGMOL.

In an official Premier League statement (see below) afterwards, they have announced new measures which they say are: ‘committed to improving the consistency of decisions, speeding up processes and increasing communication to fans.’

The clubs were told by the PGMOL, that the introduction of VAR has improved the accuracy of match officials around “key match incidents”, an improvement from 82% last season to 91% this season.

Premier League official statement:

‘At a Shareholders’ (the clubs) meeting today, the implementation of VAR was discussed at length and the Premier League and PGMOL committed to improving the consistency of decisions, speeding up processes and increasing communication to fans.

Mike Riley, managing director of PGMOL, addressed the clubs and accepted improvement is required.

Speed and consistency prioritised

While VAR is an ongoing process and has corrected a significant number of on-field errors, he explained that speed and consistency of decision-making are priority areas of work and will improve as the officials become more experienced with the technology and protocols.

The clear and obvious test was reaffirmed for subjective decisions to narrow the area of debate.

Increased information to fans

Going forward, and working within the IFAB protocol, there will be increased information made available to attending fans and viewers watching around the world.

This will explain in more detail what is being checked.

For example, under the current process, where the VAR graphic has shown “Checking Penalty”, it would say “Checking Penalty – Possible Handball”.

This enhancement will be delivered in December 2019.

IFAB protocols

Importantly, the Premier League will continue to show the definitive clip or image for all overturned decisions in stadium, and remains the only major European League to do so.

However, IFAB protocol prevents video clips or stills being shown in stadiums until the referee has made a decision.

The same protocol also does not permit direct audio communication from the referee or VAR to fans.

Referee Review Area use

The policy of using the Referee Review Area was discussed and it was reemphasised that it would be reserved for unseen incidents, or when information from the VAR is outside the expectation range of the referee.

Ensuring the pace and tempo of Premier League football remains an important focus for clubs.

The core principles of VAR were reiterated. These are minimum interference for maximum benefit, maintaining the pace and tempo of Premier League football and correcting clear and obvious on-field errors.

Clubs strongly represented the views of their supporters and agreed VAR should be under constant review. Research will now take place with fans, and other relevant stakeholders, to understand their views on how the application of VAR could be best improved.

Improvement in accuracy

The shareholders were also updated that the introduction of VAR has improved the accuracy of match officials around “key match incidents” (KMI).

Last season match officials achieved 82 per cent KMI accuracy. With VAR this accuracy has risen to 91 per cent this season.’

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