Premier League to favour video assistant referees to make big decisions – not officials using pitchside screen

Premier League to favour video assistant referees to make big decisions – not officials using pitchside screen

Premier League video assistant referees will be instructed to make the final decisions on contentious moments themselves next season and convey them to the on-field referee, rather than the latter having to consult a pitchside screen.

The VAR process is under scrutiny again this week after Damir Skomina was told to review Presnel Kimpembe’s handball in injury time against Manchester United on Wednesday, prompting the Slovenian referee to give the penalty that eliminated Paris St-Germain from the Champions League.

There is a belief among the referee community that the VAR official on the night, Massimiliano Irrati, was wrong to recommend the incident for review, given that Skomina’s original call – he gave a corner instead of a penalty – did not constitute a “clear and obvious error”. There could be an argument made either way for the penalty, with the ball striking Kimpembe’s arm, but it needed to reach the “clear and obvious error” benchmark to trigger a VAR review.

English officials working for Professional Game Match Officials Ltd are trialling VAR in preparation for its introduction to the Premier League next season, with the system being used in selected games in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup. The Premier League select group officials met this week at St George’s Park as per their usual schedule and have been told that next season PGMOL’s preferred option is that VAR, working remotely, will be encouraged to tell the on-field referee the decision directly.

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