Referee's chief Mike Riley outlines plans to stop VAR ruining Premier League football


Throughout the course of the Women's World Cup, VAR hasn't exactly covered itself in glory. 

Premier League fans have been watching on in anxiety ahead of the technology's introduction in the coming domestic season. 

We moved on from checking 'clear and obvious' errors quite some time ago.

The Lionesses had goals disallowed in successive games out in France over the most dubious of margins.

"I don't know where the game is going," Phil Neville lamented as he prepared to lead the ladies home after the defeat to Sweden. 

There is a genuine concern that VAR is sapping the emotion from the game, delaying celebrations, and encouraging officials to punish the utterly pedantic. 

However, in English football at least, referee's chief Mike Riley has insisted that certain steps are being taken to ensure what should be a beneficial tool doesn't end up ruining the excitement. 

Riley has told The Times that VAR will not impose the new, tougher stance on handballs. 

Leniency on handballs 

That issue gained particular notoriety in the Champions League final, when Moussa Sissoko was penalised in the first 20 seconds despite the ball bouncing off his chest and onto his arm. 


Going forward, Riley says that the Sissoko penalty - or the spot-kick given against Danny Rose during Tottenham vs Manchester City in the quarter-finals - wouldn't be given in the Premier League.

“What we don’t want to create is a culture when defenders have to defend with their hands behind their back or where it is acceptable for attackers to try to drill the ball at their hand to win a penalty," he explained.  

Similar instances were also seen at the Women's World Cup, where there was also outcry over goalkeepers being made to stay on their line for penalties. 

More leniency will also be afforded to 'keepers to allow them to encroach to a reasonable degree. 

Delays will be minimal 

Crucially, there will be no VAR replays on pitchside monitors, except in special circumstances. Riley added:

“We have said 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 at 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 has given you is something that the referee expects.”

That has been one of the major causes of delays, so the news will come as a relief to spectators in the stadium and those watching at home. 

As much as football fans want mistakes to be ironed out, there has to be some allowance for human error. 

These reforms should - in theory - go a long way towards ensuring VAR helps, rather than hinders, watching the Premier League next season. 

Do you think VAR will be good for the Premier League? Have your say in the comments. 

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