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24th July 2020

Technology VAR: Referees’ boss Mike Riley to present review at Premier League meeting

Technology VAR: Referees’ boss Mike Riley to present review at Premier League meeting

Technology

Technology A screen announcing VAR decision

VAR has been in use in the Premier League since the start of the season

Referees’ boss Mike Riley will present his season’s review of the video assistant referee system on Friday at a Premier League shareholders’ meeting.

Riley, head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, will look at key match incidents and assess how the technology has been used in its first season in the English top flight.

More meaningful discussions about how VAR will operate next season will be left until August’s annual general meeting, when the three promoted clubs from the Championship will be present.

Fifa took over direct responsibility of VAR from football rulemakers Ifab on 1 July and is expected to insist on greater consistency across more than 100 global leagues.

The move was seen as a way of bringing the Premier League into line with other competitions.

England’s top flight had opted against checking for goalkeepers moving off their lines at penalties, and referees have tended not to use the pitchside monitors as often as in other leagues, because of a belief that doing so slows the game down.

There has been huge controversy around individual VAR decisions in the Premier League. Earlier this month, former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher picked out key incidents in all three matches played on one day which, in his opinion, the match officials had got wrong.

Clubs expected to confirm 12 September start

At Friday’s meeting, it is anticipated the clubs will confirm a start date for the 2020-21 Premier League season.

This is expected to be 12 September, although the four clubs still in this season’s European competition have been pushing for a delayed start given the lack of preparation time if their players are to be allowed a break after a punishing post-lockdown schedule.

Should Manchester City reach the Champions League final on 23 August, they will have played 16 games in 68 days from their Premier League encounter with Arsenal on 17 June. Without a delay, they would start the next domestic campaign less than three weeks later – with an international double-header in between.

In June, world players’ union Fifpro said “minimum contractually-agreed holiday periods” which in the Premier League is three weeks “need to be respected” followed by a training period to avoid injuries.

Meanwhile, it is understood Championship clubs met on Thursday and discussed spending restrictions, without reaching an agreement over what format they should take. More clarity may emerge at their annual general meeting in August, by which time the full make-up of their league will be known.

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