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Tony Scholes, chief football officer of the Premier League, acknowledges that the fan experience of VAR in stadiums is unsatisfactory and believes that the reviews are too time-consuming.
The use of video assistant referees was implemented in the English premier league during the 2019-20 season, but there are still ongoing issues with its execution.
The Premier League reports that a majority of the supporters they surveyed support VAR, but Scholes admits that the majority is not as large as he would prefer.
The head of the league’s football department acknowledges that the implementation of VAR is not flawless and has identified two specific areas that need improvement.
Scholes stated that if the goal of VAR is to enhance decision making precision, it has been a notable achievement. However, he emphasized the need for ongoing progress and refinement in this area.
I believe there are two factors that significantly impact the overall reputation of VAR: the time it takes to conduct reviews and checks, and the improved accuracy.
“We are performing an excessive number of checks and they are also taking too much time.”
It’s somewhat understandable considering the amount of scrutiny these individuals are under, not only from us and the media, but also from fans.
The lengthy reviews are slowing down the game and we are fully aware of this issue. We recognize the importance of maintaining both speed and accuracy in the review process.
“The in-stadium experience for supporters is the second area where the VAR experience falls short. It is far from satisfactory and we are aware of this.”
This has a negative impact on the fans’ experience of the game, and we understand that it must be altered.
Scholes states that the Premier League is taking steps to enhance reviews by providing training and development opportunities to decrease the time it takes for reviews and checks to be completed.
Semi-automated offsides will potentially improve the efficiency of decision-making. Scholes plans to consult with clubs later this year for their input after the testing phase.
According to Scholes, the Premier League’s efforts to improve fan experience are limited by regulations set by the International Football Association Board.
He stated that IFAB has specific guidelines regarding what we are allowed to say during and after the VAR process.
“At this time, it is not possible for us to utilize or play the audio.”
In my opinion, we are currently progressing towards a point where both the video and audio will be presented live and then subsequently used to clarify the decision.
I am unsure of the distance, as that is not within our control. The decision is made by IFAB.
“We will persist in persuading them to reach a point where VAR is as accessible, clear, and communicative to fans and all involved parties as feasible.”
We anticipate that one change will happen soon, which is the referee informing the audience on the sidelines of their decision after reviewing footage using VAR.