UEFA referee chief Roberto Rosetti has urged the Premier League to alter the way they use the recently introduced VAR system, encouraging the on-field ref to review the pitch-side footage themselves, in the same way as happens in other major European leagues.
VAR in the Premier League is of course still very much in its infancy, but so far, it has seemingly had little involvement in the decision-making process, with some of the more controversial incidents not being overturned, with PGMOL chief Mike Riley having set a high threshold for decisions to be changed.
So far, the protocol for VAR intervention would see the on-field referee’s decision stand unless the video assistant can prove that there has been a ‘clear and obvious error’, which so far, almost seems like an impossibility.
Mike Riley admitted last week that there had only been four ‘mistakes’ so for this season regarding the video technology, although fans, pundits and managers alike have refuted such claims, suggesting that the figure is much higher, with a number of penalties having not been awarded over the first five weeks of the Premier League campaign.
However, leading UEFA referee chief Rosetti has urged the Premier League to change their protocols, and to allow on-field referees to view the footage for themselves, rather than relying on the video ref at Stockley Park.
“We think referees must be at the centre of the decision-making process – not the VAR,” Rosetti told the Mail on Sunday.
“I was a referee for 27 years. I want to be the person in charge of what happens on the field.
“That means I want to see what happened with my own eyes and then I can continue the match.
“I can explain to the players what has happened and I want to be at the centre of the decision. I want to see the referees take the decision.
“I understand we need to work to improve and reduce the time of reviews but the priority is for accuracy of decisions.
“I prefer a referee to watch the situation with his own eyes instead of by a man who we don’t know where he is, maybe in another place or another city!”
Rosetti did say however that the referee’s and the video assistants are ‘doing a good job,’ urging time and patience for the decision-makers to iron out the kinks in the ‘young project’.
“The Premier League and its referees are doing a good job,” he added. ‘It is a young project. It needs time to be efficient, to be fast and to be the best. We need patience.
“The main reaction in Italy was positive because it something that related to justice, to do something good for football and to avoid mistakes.
“VAR cannot delete them all. There will be always discussions, always controversial situations. We cannot forget that behind the technology are human beings.
“These guys did their jobs on the field of play for 15-20 years and are now doing something different in front of a monitor. They need time and experience. They need to improve their skills to select the best cameras.”
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