November 12 – The man in charge of VAR in the English top flight says it could take years before the system is implemented properly.
Neil Swarbrick, head of VAR for the Premier League, rates the current level of success as seven out of 10 despite a string of mistakes that have left managers, players and fans fuming with bewilderment in particular over incidents of handball and offside
“We are in the infancy with VAR, 12 match weeks into the Premier League season, and you need to give us time to operate and utilise it,” said Swarbrick after several baffling new incidents last weekend.
“It’s taken quite a few years for other competitions or sports – the likes of cricket and rugby union – to get to where they are today regarding technology. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
VAR was introduced in the Premier League this season after trials in the two domestic knockout competitions but persistent inconsistencies in decision-making is making a mockery of games as is the time it takes for rulings to be made.
“Stick with us, it’s a work in progress,” argued Swarbrick. “We’ll look at incidents that have happened and look to improve as this goes forward. As we’ve said, this will evolve. I’m really pleased, honestly, with how we have started out.”
“We have more decisions correct with VAR than without it. If the mark now is seven – early days – in two years’ time I’m hoping for maybe a eight and a half or nine (out of 10).”
Referees in the Premier League have stayed clear of using pitch-side monitors which is making the situation worse.
But Swarbrick said: “At the moment, the feedback we are getting back from the clubs, managers, players etc is they are quite comfortable in how we are operating.”
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