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Premier League clubs to discuss major VAR changes including appeals system


The 20 Premier League clubs will meet next week to discuss possible changes to the current VAR system, including the introduction of appeals.

VAR was intended to smooth out major issues with refereeing decisions, but its introduction to the English top flight this season has led to more controversy.

Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa was a prime example, but the majority of league games this season have included at least one questionable call, with Jamie Carragher summing up his frustration on Sky Sports.

“The whole point of VAR is to help referees and we speak so often in the job I have speaking about referees and decisions,” he argued.

“We’re now spending double or triple that amount of time talking about decisions so it hasn’t done what it was brought in to do.”

This is seemingly a feeling shared by many Premier League clubs—not to mention fans—as the Telegraph report that “radical” changes will be discussed in a meeting next week.

Perhaps the most prominent is a possible appeals system for managers, with one unnamed chairman “in favour of each team being given up to three appeals over contentious ­incidents during a game.”

The encouragement for referees to use pitch-side monitors and possible replays of incidents on big screens for fans could also be discussed.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 9, 2019: The VAR check for a potential penalty is broadcast on the scoreboard during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and FC Porto at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Arguably the best instance of VAR in action in the Premier League so far this season came when Ryan Bertrand’s studs-up challenge on Ayoze Perez in Southampton‘s 9-0 loss to Leicester was replayed at St Mary’s while the decision was made.

It allowed for little ambiguity, with supporters able to understand the delay and Bertrand himself seemingly acknowledging his guilt after initially pleading innocence; it was the first VAR-prompted red card.

Interestingly, another chairman is quoted as asking whether the problems are “a personnel ­issue,” which will no doubt resonate with fans too.

Carragher explained that the VAR should be “someone cold,” and though the current setup has officials stationed away from the action at Stockley Park, it is still debatable whether the use of established referees is the right approach.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 2, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and the fourth official during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Any changes are likely to be minimal at this stage, and the Telegraph add that “the Premier League will strongly argue against” the introduction of appeals, for example.

But it is a welcome step forward, with managers of the northern clubs also invited to a separate meeting in Manchester on Thursday to discuss VAR and its problems—one of those possibly attending being Jurgen Klopp.



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