Premier League referees will be ‘encouraged’ to start using pitch-side VAR monitors in the decision-making process, in an attempt to improve the technology’s use.
Representatives from all 20 Premier League clubs will convene for a meeting on Thursday to review the implementation of VAR, which has been met with controversy in its introduction this season.
According to a report from the Daily Mail, ‘a number of clubs are ready to demand’ that officials be allowed to consult pitch-side monitors, as is normal practice in other competitions around the world where VAR is present.
The reason the monitors have not been utilised thus far is that the Premier League clubs actually voted against reviews this summer in an attempt to ‘minimise disruption’ – a theory that now seems foolish, following a series of controversial match decisions.
On Saturday, Sheffield United saw a goal ruled out for an incredibly marginal offside call, while Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino was denied a similarly tight call in the clash with Manchester United last month.
According to the BBC, Professional Game Match Officials Board chief Mike Riley is already prepared to make the change to protocol regarding monitor use.
The former ref will tell clubs during the meeting that officials will be advised to use monitors in order to provide necessary clarity.
In addition to the issue with pitch-side monitors, Riley is also expected to face questions from the Premier League clubs this week about other VAR issues. These include inconsistencies in decision-making, the time it takes for rulings to be made – which occasionally can run over several minutes – and in-stadium decision communication, with fans often left waiting without clarity over what is happening.
Speaking on the monitor issue, Brighton chief executive Paul Barber is quoted as saying: “The clubs got most of what they asked for in the summer regarding VAR. It is not fair to blame the officials.
“We certainly cannot blame Mike Riley. But it is clear we need to review pitch-side monitor usage and Mike Riley will maybe change the protocol.”