Premier League Managers Push for VAR Revamp

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Gabriel Barkhan
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Premier League Managers Push for VAR Revamp

Managers demand consistent VAR assignments, seeking clarity on 'clear and obvious' errors, but face challenges in immediate integration

News Insights

  • Premier League managers seek consistent VAR assignments for improved officiating
  • Mikel Arteta labels current VAR system "embarrassing" and demands change
  • League Managers Association urges clarification on "clear and obvious" errors
  • PGMOL faces challenges integrating VAR specialists due to a shortage

Premier League managers demand a VAR overhaul, pushing for consistent VAR assignments in five-person refereeing squads after controversial decisions. The call aims to enhance officiating standards and clarity.

Premier League managers are intensifying their calls for a revamp of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, advocating for a permanent assignment of VARs to expanded five-person refereeing squads. This push comes on the heels of a series of contentious decisions in the current season, sparking frustration among managers and a growing demand for improved officiating standards.

Mikel Arteta, the manager of Arsenal, minced no words in expressing his dissatisfaction with the existing VAR setup, labeling it "embarrassing" and a "disgrace" after his team's defeat at the hands of Newcastle. Arsenal, in response, issued a statement urging the referees' body, Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL), to urgently address the perceived decline in officiating standards.

The League Managers Association (LMA), led by Chief Executive Richard Bevan, has taken an active role in advocating for change. Bevan confirmed that discussions have been held with PGMOL to explore a new system where referees and VARs work together consistently. The proposed model envisions referees collaborating with the same VAR for every match they officiate, fostering cohesion within the officiating team.

Bevan highlighted the managers' strong belief that a VAR specialist should be an integral part of the close-knit team of officials, comprising the referee, fourth official, assistant referees, and VAR specialist. This unified unit would work together consistently, aiming to enhance communication and overall officiating outcomes. The success of officiating teams, with referees and assistants regularly collaborating, has already been observed and endorsed.

One of the key areas of concern addressed by the managers is the need for clarity regarding what constitutes a "clear and obvious" error, a term central to VAR decision-making. Bevan acknowledged the prevailing confusion among managers and stressed the necessity of a thorough review and simplification of this crucial aspect of the VAR process.

In response to these concerns, PGMOL has expressed its active consideration of how best to incorporate VARs into match-day refereeing teams. The goal is to establish a dynamic relationship between on-field referees and VARs that contributes to positive outcomes. PGMOL has undergone adjustments to the VAR system this season, notably in the aftermath of a high-profile failure to award a goal during the Tottenham vs. Liverpool match.

Despite these efforts, challenges persist in integrating VAR specialists into match-day refereeing teams. The shortage of trained video assistants poses a significant obstacle, compounded by the departure of Mike Dean and Lee Mason from their roles as VAR specialists last season due to high-profile errors. While PGMOL's Chief Refereeing Officer, Howard Webb, has committed to recruiting more VAR specialists, the shortage remains a critical impediment in the short term.

In conclusion, the clamour for VAR reform in the Premier League reflects a desire for increased consistency, clearer decision-making processes, and a more collaborative approach between referees and VAR specialists. The ongoing dialogue between the managers, LMA, and PGMOL signals a collective effort to address the challenges and enhance the overall quality of officiating in one of the world's most-watched football leagues.

Premier League managers, led by Arsenal's Mikel Arteta, are advocating for a permanent VAR pairing with referees to address officiating concerns. The League Managers Association engages in talks with officials, urging a review of "clear and obvious" errors. Despite adjustments by PGMOL, challenges persist in integrating VAR specialists into match-day refereeing teams due to a shortage of trained assistants.

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