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Premier League VAR system ‘spoiling fan enjoyment’ admits chief

The Premier League VAR implementation is  ‘not good enough' for supporters, admitted its Chief Football Officer Tony Scholes.

Fans are seeing long delays after a goal is scored before the decision is made over whether or not it should stand.

And while 96% of decisions are now correct, this has come at the cost of those who actually pay to watch the match. The data shows that even with the new clampdown on time wasting, the average game length is three and a half minutes longer than last season at an average of 101 minutes, 41 seconds taken from 226 matches.

Premier League VAR experience ‘poor'

“The VAR experience is poor, the in-stadium experience for the supporter, admitted Mr. Scholes. “It's nowhere near good enough. We know it's not.

“It affects supporters' enjoyment of the game, and we know it needs to change.”

The CFO admitted that not only are checks taking too long, but there are too many of them too.

VAR can currently only be used to check cases of goals, penalties, red cards and mistaken identity.

“The reviews are taking too long and it's affecting the flow of the game,” he continued. “We're extremely aware of that and the need to improve that speed, whilst always maintaining the accuracy.”

Changes afoot

The Premier League are reportedly lobbying those in charge of the rules of the game (IFAB) to allow for the introduction of audio reviews that would be broadcast both in the stadium and to fans watching on TV at home. Similar audio reviews are currently used in America in the NFL.

An announcement of the VAR decision in the stadium should also be on the cards in Premier League games, after the system was trialled at the Women's World Cup recently.

Tony Scholes is the former Stoke City CEO, which he believes puts him in touch with how important accurate on-field decisions can be.

“I know myself from my club background that one mistake can be incredibly costly to a club,” admitted Scholes. “It can be incredibly costly to individuals and it's important to all of us at the league and in the refereeing organisations stay mindful of that, and stay mindful of the need to keep developing, keep improving, so that we're in a world where no factual mistakes at all are made and subjective mistakes are minimised to the degree possible.”

Meanwhile, the fans are still living with a system that those in charge at the Premier League have admitted is costing them their enjoyment of the game.


Chloe Digby

An experienced freelance football writer, editor and podcaster, Chloe has worked for Forbes, the Guardian, the BBC, Mundial Magazine, FourFourTwo Magazine the iPaper, OneFootball, Tortoise Media and many more. Chloe has been a regular at Stockport County since 1995 and also follows Fiorentina. She is an expert on fan culture, having traveled all over England and Italy watching football.

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