VAR here to stay but needs to improve, says EPL chief
English Premier League clubs will consider making changes to the way video assistant referee (VAR) reviews are used from next season, its chief executive Richard Masters said.
The use of VAR, introduced for this campaign in England's top division, has been a source of constant controversy and criticism. A survey by pollsters YouGov reported on Tuesday that six out of 10 fans felt the system was working badly.
But Masters said that their own research had found supporters welcomed the improved accuracy of decisions, but were frustrated with some aspects of how VAR has worked.
"There is obviously the other part of VAR which is consistent decision-making, the time to take decisions, frustration perhaps with the precision offsides... the jury is out on that," he said.
Masters said 94 per cent of "key decisions" had been found to be correct this season, but that clubs will discuss in April how the system will work next season and look at issues such as close offside calls and the referee's use of the pitchside monitor.
"Offside is one and whether you want offside that is precise to the armpit or the heel, or whether you want to build in a bit of tolerance? That is sort of a technical challenge," he said.
"The use of the review area (by the referee) is another debate. We have recently expanded the remit on that to cover red cards and downgrades from red card situations.
"If fans can see the referee (reviewing the incident) then, psychologically, they are seeing something happening rather than waiting for (VARs based in) Stockley Park to make a decision. That will be a discussion point," he added.
Masters said the league was in "constant dialogue" with the International Football Association Board, the game's lawmaking body, over the use of VAR.
"It's here to stay and certainly it's going to be with us next season," he said.
Masters also spoke on how he does not believe homegrown player quotas will improve the fortunes of the England team.
He indicated that there could be potential new restrictions on the number of foreign players, following the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.
This will affect the way clubs do their international transfer business once the transition period ends at the end of the year.
The Football Association wants to reduce the maximum number of non-homegrown players permitted in 25-man squads from 17 to 13.
Masters said there was agreement between the EPL and the FA over their aims, but not how to best move forward.
"We want the EPL to still bring the best players from around the world and we want the system to be able to provide more and better quality players for the England team," he said.
"We don't necessarily believe quotas are the answer."
Masters hopes any new system will be agreed before the summer transfer window, so that clubs are able to recruit knowing what rules will be in place once the UK's new immigration system comes into place in January 2021. - REUTERS, AFP