VAR has been used in the English Premier League since the 2019/20 season. Football has been a slightly different sport since the inception of the tool. Tony Scholes, the Premier League’s top football official, spoke to Sky Sports about how VAR has positively and negatively changed the game and what changes lie ahead.
VAR is meant to serve as a tool for referees to help them reverse their poor decisions. However, it doesn’t always succeed. According to KMI, VAR has made 20 bad decisions in the Premier League this season.
What exactly is KMI? It’s the Key Match Moments Committee, which is made up of former players, coaches and referees who examine all the important moments in all English top-flight matches.
“The purpose of this commission is to analyse every key decision made by the referees in each of the 380 matches. And take a view on it,” explains Scholes.
According to KMI, VAR has correctly intervened in 57 cases this year. Seventeen times he erred by not intervening and three times he adversely affected the game by improperly entering the game.
So is VAR working properly?
“VAR is and remains a very effective tool for supporting referees on the field,” says Scholes. Recent Premier League research shows that before the advent of VAR, 82% of referee decisions were correct. Now it is 96%.
Scholes says VAR brings two major problems to the game
“We do too many checks and it takes too long. It’s understandable to some extent given the level of scrutiny these people are subjected to,” explains Scholes.
The second problem is that VAR affects the fan experience in the stadium. “It’s not nearly good enough. We know it isn’t. It affects the fans’ enjoyment of the game and we know that needs to change.”
Tony Scholes claims, referring to an unpublished survey conducted by the Premier League, that VAR does have the support of the majority of fans.
Premier League looking for specialists
“The PGMOL (Professional Match Referees’ Council – ed.) has shortlisted referees who perhaps work in the EFL or the National League and who it believes have the qualities needed to be good at VAR,” reveals the man in charge of football matters.
“The selected people will then go through a training programme to create a group of VAR specialists who will complement, not replace, those members of the selected group who are currently operating very effectively as VARs both on and off the pitch.”
Source: Sky Sports
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