Premier League asks clubs for suggestions on how to improve VAR

The Premier League has written to clubs in order to ask for suggestions on how to improve VAR, with the use of the technology becoming an increasingly controversial topic.

When it was implemented at the start of last season, many hoped that the arrival of VAR would bring an end to the constant debate and scrutiny over refereeing decisions, yet, if anything, the controversies seem to have become much more frequent.

Issues over handball and offside, in particular, have been a sour point among fans, managers and players, with a clear lack of consistency over decision making leaving all involved in the game somewhat confused.

On Wednesday night, Manchester City appeared to have a clear penalty not given by VAR, following Alex McCarthy’s foul on Phil Foden inside the box, in what was the latest questionable incident involving the technology.

Such erratic refereeing displays, both on-field and in Stockley Park, have led to calls for change, with the Mail reporting that the Premier League has written to top-flight clubs in order ascertain how to go about altering the currently flawed system.

The 20 top tier clubs will be given a survey that includes footage of controversial and debatable decisions made this season, in the hope that they can provide feedback so changes can be made ahead of next term, with the early findings set to be outlined in a shareholders’ meeting on 25 March.

The Premier League are reportedly already working with the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) in order to grasp how to go about improving the current system, with a focus on marginal offsides and penalties, in particular.

This past week has already seen alterations made to the rules, with football law makers Ifab confirming that an accidental handball that leads to a goalscoring chance or a goal for a team-mate will no longer be penalised, an announcement that came just days after Fulham’s Josh Maja was denied a goal against Tottenham for a handball by teammate Mario Lemina in the build-up.

The rule will still see players penalised if they accidentally score with their hand/arm, as well as if they use their hand or arm directly before scoring, as happened with AC Milan’s Frank Kessie seeing a marvellous goal disallowed for ‘handball’ during the 1-1 draw with Manchester United in the Europa League.

The report suggests that while clubs are keen to help trigger change in the current VAR system, there is no ‘appetite’ to completely throw out the use of technology, with the desire more to rid the game of inconsistencies.

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