Monday 11 November 2019

Premier League clubs plan 'robust' talks over changes to VAR regulations

'Clubs say there will be a “robust” discussion on the failings of VAR.' Photo: Martin Rickett/PA
'Clubs say there will be a “robust” discussion on the failings of VAR.' Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

Jason Burt

Premier League clubs will discuss whether managers should be allowed to appeal a refereeing decision during a game, in a potentially radical change to how the video assistant referees are used.

At a meeting of the 20 clubs next week, the idea of allowing managers a set number of appeals - as takes place in other sports, such as cricket - will be put forward.

One chairman said that he would be in favour of each team being given up to three appeals over contentious incidents during a game. However, the Premier League will strongly argue against it - claiming it will lead to time-wasting and tactical appeals by managers to break up play and run down the clock.

Nevertheless, clubs say there will be a "robust" discussion on the failings of VAR. Although there is an implied threat some might even call for the suspension of the system, it appears the majority want to give it more time to be improved before moving towards that dramatic course of action.

They are, however, demanding answers with a rising sense of frustration at the way VAR is being used and the potential damage and embarrassment it is causing the Premier League. Some have already written to the Premier League with their concerns.

The Premier League is not against a change in its approach and will be guided by the clubs, although there is not expected to be a vote on suspending VAR. Instead, there is due to be a change in the guidelines with, for example, pitchside monitors finally being used.

The guidance, which the Premier League points out was agreed with the clubs at the beginning of the season, was for the monitors to be used "sparingly" to try to minimise delays.

Specifically, this meant in two kinds of incidents - an unseen one, such as a player elbowing an opponent off the ball, and where the video official and the referee disagree as to what has happened. In 110 matches, the pitchside monitors have not been used, but the Premier League accepts that if the clubs want a change it will happen, and not least from a PR point of view to appease angry fans.

At the meeting, the Premier League will canvas opinion on what other changes are wanted, such as replaying incidents referred to VAR on screens for fans to see. The Premier League will also hold a meeting in Manchester on Thursday for the northern-based managers to discuss VAR. There was a meeting last week at Stockley Park, where the VARs are based, for the southern-based managers.

Afterwards, Aston Villa boss Dean Smithsaid: "(After the meetings) the CEOs and the Premier League will get together and decide where they're taking it. You can't scrap it now, there's 28 countries using it. We all wanted it to find the right decisions, but there was always going to be teething problems and we've found them."

One of the managers invited to attend in Manchester is Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp.

"I think you all expect a proper improvement from VAR and that is possible," he said. "It was difficult as well in Germany and it got better. They do things differently. There were some moments - clear offside, handball and that stuff - and that is what we wanted it for. Now I think we discuss referees decisions more. We have to improve that. A lot of meetings will happen. As long as we can help we will try."

Chelsea's Frank Lampard attended last week and he was asked whether he would be in favour of getting rid of VAR. "I would work with it and see where we can improve," he said. "It needs to be a really open conversation, referees, managers fans, whatever.

"I know there are so many opinions; it's not easy. The clinical decisions are an improvement ... the clinical nature of offside and goal-line technology is positive. It's the subjective ones that we really need to decide where we are coming from with this idea of "clear and obvious". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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