Premier League chief makes admission over use of VAR

Premier League chief football officer Tony Scholes admitted there have been too many VAR checks so far this season which have negatively impacted the experience of fans watching the games.

While mistakes from the VAR system are less frequent this season compared to last year, the duration of checks has increased dramatically since the error which saw Luis Diaz’s goal for Liverpool against Tottenham disallowed back in September.

Those delays are of the utmost concern to Scholes, who admitted there needs to be changes to the current process.

“Clearly everything in the world of VAR is not perfect,” Scholes said. “We’re aware of that and we know that we’ve got work to do. We’re doing too many checks, we’re taking too long in doing them as well. It’s to a degree understandable, given the level of scrutiny these guys are under.

“But the reviews are taking too long and it’s affecting the flow of the game, and we’re extremely aware of that and the need to improve that speed whilst always maintaining the accuracy.”

The clear dilemma, however, is the heightened risk of mistakes that comes with limiting the time spent on a VAR review.

“We don’t want to jeopardise accuracy,” Scholes continued. “But decision times have increased this season and that’s alongside the increased scrutiny that is on the VARs as a result of a couple of high-profile decisions.

“They are taking longer to check, we understand that, but by training and development we want them to focus on making a decision on the facts they see but not having to double or triple check.”

Among the plans to improve the experience of fans is approval for Premier League officials to audibly explain their decisions to fans in stadiums next season, although the league must still formally approve such plans.

What we know

  • League official Tony Scholes believes there have been too many VAR checks this season
  • The impact on fan experience has concerned Scholes
  • Discussions are underway about future improvements.

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