Riley promises VAR will be ‘dialled back’ for the new Premier League season

Tuesday, 3 August, 2021 24comments  |  Jump to last

The BBC are carrying a report that promises some very welcome changes to the way VAR is implemented in the Premier League.

The use of the video assistant referee (VAR) will be 'dialled back' in the new Premier League season, with officials told not to penalise "trivial things".

Mike Riley, general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), says he always felt it would be a "3- to 5-year project" to bed in VAR, and believes cricket and rugby took 7 years to get to what he calls "a good place" with video technology.

The tortuous process of lines being drawn on screens as VAR reaches its offside decisions will not be visible. Instead, as at the Euros, television viewers will only be shown how the conclusion was reached.

Article continues below video content

"The toenails and noses that might have been offside last year won't be next season," said Riley.

"We will carry on following the same process as last year, so you'll apply the pixel lines, place the attacking line and defending line on top, and then the thicker broadcast lines. But where they overlap those, situations will now be deemed as onside."

Riley estimates 20 goals were disallowed last season by using "quite forensic scrutiny".

Assistant referees have now been given greater scope to flag for clear offsides immediately, rather than delay in case they are wrong.

And when it comes to minimal contact between players that leads to penalty calls, Mike Riley has finally clarified a long-held bone of contention:

"Contact on its own is only part of what referees should look for," said Riley.

"They should also ask themselves if the contact has a consequence, and then if the player used that contact to try and win a foul or a penalty.

"It's not sufficient just to say: 'Yes, there's contact.' I think, partly, we got into that frame of mind by the forensic analysis that went into VAR awards.

"If you've got clear contact that has a consequence, that's what you've got to penalise. If you've any doubt in those elements, you're less likely to be penalised.

"I think it moves the dial back towards where we were in a pre-VAR world. We don't want trivial things penalised."


Reader Comments (24)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Allen Rodgers
1 Posted 03/08/2021 at 08:40:28
Good news for the RS and other ''big'' clubs. I have no doubt the referees will go back to giving them the benefit of the doubt. At least the nit-picking decisions seemed to be evenly applied.
Derek Thomas
2 Posted 03/08/2021 at 08:48:48
What that translates to is...'having seen the Euros, we're heading toward something like it should be... but give us a season or two, because we basically don't have a 'kin clue and have to look after the Shite 6.'
Barry Hesketh
3 Posted 03/08/2021 at 11:06:25
I wish Riley had announced his retirement from PGMOL, this guy has had a detrimental effect on the game in England, he was a terrible referee who was over officious and he had no understanding of the game at all. As an administrator, he and his organisation take their lead from the monied clubs, nothing will change on that front, even if he claims that VAR will be used more sparingly.

The Everton manager David Moyes has questioned the appointment of Mike Riley as the replacement referee for his side's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United on Sunday (April 2009). Riley was selected to fill in for the unwell Steve Bennett, yet Moyes called for an FA investigation into whether the Leeds-born official has any allegiances toward United.

"A member of the press asked me if Mike Riley was a Manchester United supporter and I think that's something you would need to bring up with the FA," Moyes said. "If you're saying that he is, you'd hope the FA would look at it. It is something that one or two managers would have something to say about."

Moyes has an uneasy history with Riley after the referee controversially awarded a penalty during Everton's final match of the 2002-03 season, also against Manchester United, which cost the club a place in the Uefa Cup. A spokesman for the FA said the choice of official would stand. "All our referees are fair, unbiased and objective," he said. "Mike Riley is one of our top officials and we are 100% confident he will do a good job on Sunday." (source Guardian)

Mike Allison
4 Posted 03/08/2021 at 12:09:04
The Euros were generally refereed very well. I’m not saying every decision was perfect but they erred on the right side of marginal decisions.

Last year’s Premier League seemed to be a case of the VAR trying to get involved at any opportunity, whereas the Euros VARs tended to have a quick little check and then move on unless a mistake was a big one.

The Euros referees also erred on the side of not giving fouls even when they could have, thus encouraging players to stay on their feet and not go looking for free kicks. This led to much better, more flowing football.

I’ll be happy if the Premier League can replicate this.

Kevin Prytherch
5 Posted 03/08/2021 at 12:25:05
Unfortunately Mike, with some of the main divers being from the top clubs, it is unlikely to change for the Premier League. Can you imagine Salah falling to the floor and not getting a foul?
Danny O’Neill
6 Posted 03/08/2021 at 12:28:32
It bewilders me that football has managed to make such a meal of this. I personally believe a lot of the resistance and suspicion comes from the pundits who make a living out of debating the controversy of the past.

Video technology used correctly makes it clear to all what the decision should be. It's there and plain to see.

It's not VAR that is the problem, it is the implementation of it, the rules (e.g. offside) and the standard of officials. No change on the latter from pre-VAR days.

Video technology should theoretically right most of the wrongs of previous on the spot human decision making that we as much as anyone have been on the wrong end of. There should be little debate, just as in Rugby, because it's there to see.

Embrace it, don't fight it. Just implement it correctly and address the rules as well as the ongoing problem of incompetent officials. The technology is an enabler not a constrainer.

Andrew Ellams
7 Posted 03/08/2021 at 12:41:47

That was clever move by Moyes because Man Utd had a nailed-on penalty turned down that day for a tackle by Jagielka on Welbeck.

Barry Hesketh
8 Posted 03/08/2021 at 12:44:04
Danny @6,

The pundits drive me crazy, well they do, when I can be bothered to listen to them. How many times in a season do you hear Shearer et al, inform the viewers that the penalty wasn't given because it was 'soft' or 'he was going away from goal!" etc when the simple fact of the matter is: Was it a foul and was it within the penalty area? – there are no other qualifying terms to be considered.

Season after season, the pundits regale us with their 'superior' knowledge, but most of them haven't a clue about the actual rules of the game.

Dave Abrahams
9 Posted 03/08/2021 at 13:00:24
There has always been and always will be personal bias by the referees, whether they are on the field or in the studio on VAR, that is obvious from ridiculous decisions week after throughout the season, it will be no different next season.
Danny O’Neill
10 Posted 03/08/2021 at 13:22:03
Gets me every time Barry. "He was never getting the ball". Yes, but he was still fouled!!!

And let's not mention Paul Merson.

I just have.

Alan J Thompson
11 Posted 03/08/2021 at 13:27:00
Dave(#9); More likely, this is the defence before the crime. I wouldn't mind suggesting that the on-field Referee will be asked to view the monitor more often and then as he has said, the expunged version will be explained to the unwashed, sorry, TV viewers, while those in the ground can please themselves. There is no admission that they got anything wrong, if anything, that they were too right.
Eddie Dunn
12 Posted 03/08/2021 at 15:26:33
Mike Riley is, and was a complete toe rag. To have him in charge sums up the shambles that refereeing in the PL has become. Now they think that the viewer/spectator can be left in the dark instead of learning from Rugby and letting us all hear the conversation between officials. This all smacks of self -preservation.
John McFarlane Snr
13 Posted 03/08/2021 at 15:39:13
Hi Dave, [ 9] to begin with, Josh and I received our season tickets yesterday, now to the theme of VAR. I've probably said this before on this site but I'll risk repeating myself, I abhor VAR with a vengeance, football is a game played by humans and refereed by humans, and the only changes that have [in my opinion] been beneficial, are goal-line technology and the 'Shaving Cream' that referees use to prevent encroachment at free-kicks. I am looking forward to meeting up again at the Bramley Moore.
Andrew Ellams
14 Posted 03/08/2021 at 16:10:24
Cricket uses it's review system for clear and obvious errors. Miniscule decisions that require multiple slowmo camera shots to decide either way are referred back to the umpire who can then make the call to stick with their original call. Much more in the spirit of the game.

Another thing cricket and other sports do is put the decision to review in the hands of the teams and limit the number of times they can do do.

Winston Williamson
15 Posted 03/08/2021 at 16:22:05
How many times have we heard “he won the foul”? Contact on its own should never have been deemed a foul! It’s a contact sport!

Pundits do my tits in! Either they’re drooling at the stinky six or failing to hide their boredom at being made to watch mid-table dross! Their knowledge borders that of a slug!

Stinky six
Red shite

I hate them all

Don Alexander
16 Posted 03/08/2021 at 16:40:50
Am I the only one wondering why it's taken our most senior official a whole season for the penny to drop that VAR has mostly been shite?
Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 03/08/2021 at 16:46:23
John (13), nice to hear from you John, I got my ticket last week but still debating whether to use it or not because of the virus situation, hope to be at the Bramley Moor meeting in September even if I don’t go the game on the day, got about six weeks to decide that one.

I hope Josh is doing okay and still driving the midfield for the teams he plays for, best wishes to both of you.

Justin Doone
18 Posted 03/08/2021 at 18:52:21
VAR is to help and assist.

The rules are no clearer, ie handballs in the box, fouls in the build up to a goal. Players obstructing players or the sight of keeper.

We need clearer rules. Handball is handball end of.
The previous 60 seconds will be reviewed for any potential fouls or obstruction before a goal, penalty, free kick or corner is awarded.
Players simulating or diving will be punished with yellow cards.
Match referee reviews every 'call' to have final say and help learn from mistakes.

Every touch, contact or jump isn't a foul. Slow motion or not.

There must be a way of calculating force ie speed, weight, direction above 'x' could be considered enough to foul an opponent.

Players that 'hand off' opponents are surely also pushing and therefore fouling them. Does having control of the ball make a difference?

John McFarlane Snr
19 Posted 03/08/2021 at 20:11:07
Hi Dave [17] like yourself I am having a long hard look at the risk posed by going to the games, it may turn out to be a last minute decision. Josh is doing quite well, he's informed me that he has been invited to train with the Skelmersdale United youth team. He'll be 17 in September and has promised my 'Young Lady' that he'll look after me at the match, a role reversal, but quite fair considering I've looked after him since his first game when he was 6.
John Raftery
20 Posted 03/08/2021 at 20:50:40
VAR has created jobs for the boys at elite level as far as the refereeing community is concerned. Therefore it is here to stay. In my view less we see and hear of it the better as far as match going fans are concerned.
John McFarlane Snr
21 Posted 03/08/2021 at 21:25:23
Hi John [20],

It saddens me to say "I think that you are right". I have always believed that a player off-side in the build-up to a goal, but on-side when the goal is scored, should not be penalised. I consider that a referee or linesman giving a corner or throw-in to the wrong team, resulting in a goal being scored, is just as unfair but, in that instance, there are no VAR playbacks and that's one of the reasons I'm against it.

John Raftery
22 Posted 03/08/2021 at 22:55:23
Hi John (21) I agree.

There is much about offside which would benefit from improvement although I doubt the current authorities possess the wherewithal to deliver improvements.

One example is when a player runs back to collect the ball in front of opponents, sometimes in his own half, but is ruled off-side because his starting position when the pass was made was behind the last opponent. Little or no advantage is gained by the attacker but the flag is raised, the whistle blows and the flow of play is disrupted. It is a nonsense.

Brent Stephens
23 Posted 03/08/2021 at 22:59:51
Sound changes to the use of the VAR. Fine with this.
Paul Kernot
24 Posted 03/08/2021 at 00:11:25
Justin #18. Not sure I can agree re 'handball is handball'.

Via injuries I'm now reduced to walking football mid week & reffing on Saturday's. For instance, I never give handball for a ball smashed at a guy from 3 yards when his arms are by his side. In the box or not, to me that's, play on.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads