Premier League reveals four decisions incorrectly overturned by VAR

Head of PGMOL admits there is ‘still a long way to go’

Mark Critchley
Saturday 23 November 2019 11:23
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VAR overturned four correct on-field decisions by Premier League referees during the first 12 rounds of matches this season, it has been revealed.

Mike Riley, the head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), has admitted there is “still a long way to go” before the new system can be deemed successful.

Premier League club executives decided against recommending drastic changes to the top-flight’s VAR protocol at a meeting with Riley in London earlier this month.

The PGMOL believes VAR has improved decision-making in its inaugural Premier League season, with 91% of calls deemed correct compared to 82% at the same stage last year.

But officials admit there have been four occasions where VAR has overturned a correct on-field decision by a referee, making it ultimately incorrect.

Four incorrect VAR overturns

Brighton 3-2 Everton, 26 October

Everton defender Michael Keane was penalised for appearing to tread on the foot of Brighton’s Aaron Connolly inside the penalty area. VAR awarded a penalty to Brighton, which was converted.

Norwich 1-3 Manchester United, 27 October

After a lengthy delay, Manchester United winger Daniel James was awarded a penalty by VAR having collided with Norwich’s Ben Godfrey. The spot-kick was missed.

Arsenal 2-2 Crystal Palace, 27 October

Arsenal’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos appeared to have scored a late winner but the goal was ruled out for an apparent foul by Calum Chambers on Palace’s Luka Milivojevic.

Watford 1-2 Chelsea, 2 November

After another lengthy delay, Watford’s Gerard Deulofeu was awarded a penalty by VAR having been brought down by Chelsea midfielder Jorginho. The spot-kick was converted.

Brighton's Aaron Connolly and Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford

“We will all be debating VAR until we become accustomed to it,” Riley said. “Look at the developments the referees have made through this process and they’ve been really good, but there’s still a long way to go.

“There are significant things we can do to improve it. We can get better consistency in decision-making, we can improve the timings and if we achieve those – which we will over time – then what we’ll end up with is better quality decision-making that minimises the impact on the game.

“All of us have got to go through this learning point and come out with a greater consistency [on] where we want VAR to be.

“If we keep at the forefront of our mind that what we are trying to correct are the clear and obvious errors, what the International Football Associations Board called the ‘egregious’ errors, that’s a better place to be in terms of creating minimum interference but still getting maximum benefit.”

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