VAR confusion reigns in Premier League

AFP

LONDON: Three months into the Premier League’s first season using VAR, confusion and anger abounds, from managers, players and fans, at the inconsistent use of the technology. England’s top flight was the last of Europe’s big five leagues to implement VAR, with the objective of observing and learning from mistakes made elsewhere.

However, the desire not to re-referee games or overly disrupt the flow of matches by encouraging referees to come to the side of the pitch to review incidents on monitors has led to an inconsistent application of the rules.

Offside decisions do not fall into the category of needing to be a “clear and obvious” error and have therefore been regularly overturned.

But for penalties, red cards and fouls in the build up to goals, the high bar for changing the initial decision by the referee means few have been overturned.

Ninety games into the season, not a single penalty has been awarded by VAR, nor has a referee come to the sideline to review his initial decision.

“The Premier League needs to bite the bullet and make sure the video referee intervenes,” said former referee Peter Walton in The Times.

“Such interventions wouldn’t belittle the referee,” he added. “They don’t always have the best view, and I would have welcomed that help as a referee.”

Last Saturday Aston Villa, Burnley and Wolves had goals ruled out by VAR, the most contentious of which saw Burnley denied a late draw at Leicester for the slightest of touches by Chris Wood on the ankle of Foxes’ defender Jonny Evans. – AFP

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