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Premier League statement on VAR

14 Nov 2019
VAR big screen Man City cropped

Implementation of VAR discussed at Shareholders' meeting where League and PGMOL commit to improvements

At a Shareholders’ 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 protocol

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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