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Former Premier League referee admits he’s ‘very positive’ about VAR

Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett has said he is ‘very positive’ about the imminent introduction of VAR into English top-flight.

Despite VAR being introduced in last summers World Cup, the Premier League is the last major European League to introduce video technology, and there are still plenty of doubters to how it will affect the game.

There were some high profile incidents in last season’s Champions League as well as at this summer’s Women’s World Cup, while trials in last year’s FA Cup were met with a mixed reaction.

However, former top-flight referee Keith Hackett exclusively told us that he is ‘very positive’ about the introduction of VAR, taking into account how officials in England plan to use the technology.

“I’m very positive about VAR,” Hackett told us on The Football Faithful podcast.

“VAR is there to rectify referees errors. It’s giving the referee a second chance.

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“When you can see that there are 22 television cameras minimum covering a Premier League game, there’s going to be occasions when the referee doesn’t have a view, and something takes place that needs to be brought to his attention, on those four areas where they can come in – either a goal, a penalty kick, an offside, or mistaken identity. So, I’m happy with that.

“I think that Mike Reilly has done a sensible thing, literally saying to the VAR people, ‘Look, don’t come in too often. Come in when it is a serious and obvious error.’ Because we have seen games leading up to the Women’s World Cup and before that, where I think there has been an overindulgence by the VAR, almost wanting to say ‘look, I’m here, come on, I need to be involved’.

“That’s not what the VAR is there for, it’s there to assist the referee.

“I think it is down to communication between the VAR and the referee, trust, and working as a team. A good assistant referee knows when a referee wants him to come in, and I think that VAR is the same.

“However, if it is a clear and obvious that the referee has missed something, he’s missed a penalty kick or his made an absolutely glaring error, then sure, VAR should come in and the outcome has to be that we get the correct decision. That’s what the aim is.”

Click here to listen to the full interview with Keith Hackett

See also – Five of the fastest sendings off in Premier League history