VAR will be used differently i...
Soccer

VAR will be used differently in Premier League to Champions League

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

11:17 8 Jul 2019

Mike Riley says the implementation of VAR in the Premier League will not be used as it was in the Women's World Cup.

Premier League officials will be adhering to a mandate to minimise match disruption by the technology.

Premier League refs will be using a "high line of intervention" with VAR, according to Riley, the managing director of the Professional Games Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), in The Times today.

Handball

Handball and its interpretation has been a contentious issue since the introduction of VAR. There have been high profile incidents in both the Women's World Cup and The Champions League.

UEFA made it clear last season they were going to clamp down on handball incidents. They decreed it that any time the ball comes into contact with a player's arm when it was away from his body then it was a handball, and in the box, a penalty. This was the case with Sissoko in the Champions League.

Riley suggested that Sissoko's offence against Liverpool in Europe would not likely be given as a penalty in the Premier League. "In real-time, it looks a clear penalty. With VAR you can actually see what he was doing, and he's not interested in trying to block the cross."

"That's not a deliberate act of extending the arm away from the body. You also see the ball deflects off the chest onto the arm, and if you apply the philosophy we do here, we wouldn't say that was handball."

Inconsistent

Inconsistency across jurisdictions can only lead to frustration. Given VAR is the topic of discussion, that will not be a shock. Nonetheless, the focus for the Premier League officials will be to not disrupt the flow of the game.

"What you also don't want to do, particularly in our game, is to disrupt the intensity or the flow of the match," said Riley.

Trials by the PGMOL have shown a review which stops the game is only used once every five matches.

Riley continued "On a Premier League weekend you can expect a review twice in every ten games." He doesn't expect checks to delay restarts after goals, " About once each game we have to complete a check but that average delay is about 20 seconds, and that is usually completed by the time the goal celebration is over. We have said that the referee should not go to the pitchside monitor unless the VAR's decision is completely out from what he expects."

"There have been examples in the Women's World Cup, really subjective decisions, where it has taken three or four minutes and you can avoid all that as long as the advice the VAR is giving you is something the referee expects. Where you have to be careful is to not use VAR to re-referee the game."

Patience

Riley hopes commentators and fans will give VAR a chance to bed in, and considered how technology has been implemented in other sports.

"If you go to cricket, if you go to rugby union and rugby league, it took them between five and ten years to get it in a way that they think really enhances their sport."

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