A major change is expected to be made to VAR (video assistant referee) that Premier League fans have been calling for lately.
PL chief executive Richard Masters has revealed that recordings of conversations between referees and VARs will be made available to the public after matches.
The aim of the plan is to increase transparency about refereeing decisions, something which already takes place in the US’s Major League Soccer.
Masters’ comments come just weeks after referee Mike Dean claimed that supporters should be able to listen to referees and VARs debating decisions, though he probably meant in the moment of the decision being made.
“I think in three or four years it will come in and we will be able to hear what is being said between the referee and the VAR,” the 54-year-old told the Times.
“David Dein, when he was running Arsenal, said when headsets were introduced years ago that he wanted fans to be able to pay £5 or £10 to listen in.
“The clubs would go for that, if they can make money from charging for headsets to listen in, and it could be another thing for advertising.
“They have it in snooker and rugby and we will definitely see it come in in the next five years.
“I think it’s a good thing if you can explain your decision, but I think it should only be when the referee is talking to the VAR that you are listening in. It shouldn’t be every single thing you say.”
Dean certainly wasn’t everyone’s favourite during his career as the 23rd man on the pitch, and was genuinely only ever liked for his dramatics.
The hatred went too far last season when he had to ask to be removed from the rota one week, after receiving death threats for sending off Tomas Soucek.
He denied the threats, on him and his family, were to blame for his retirement, saying, “That had nothing to do with it. I’m not getting any fitter, any younger, and it catches up with you — the time was right.
“I’m pleased I made the decision off my own back and I wasn’t told to leave.
“I was OK about it [the threats] but when it affects people close to you — and my daughter was getting death threats — that’s when I decided to step away and have a couple of weeks away and decide whether this was worth doing again.”
VAR in the Premier League hasn’t gone smoothly since it was introduced back in 2019. The English top-flight was the last of the ‘Big Five’ leagues in Europe to adopt the technology and it we all know extra work is needed to make it more reliable.
High-profile errors and protocol missteps have seen the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) criticised, with many clubs on the wrong end of decisions since its introduction.
However speaking ahead of the new season starting on Friday, Masters confirmed that the idea of releasing conversations has board support, however they would only be released post-match as football’s lawmakers do not allow live broadcasts.
He said: “There is a general view that [releasing the audio] is a good thing. There is a desire to be more open with fans about referees’ decision-making and how we do that precisely we need to work out.”
Meanwhile, Masters has also confirmed that the Carabao Cup isn’t getting axed anytime soon despite the extra pressure on big six fixtures because of the Champions League reforms.
“I think the biggest impact of the Uefa reforms are on the League Cup because of the loss of midweeks, so we need to find a solution to that,” he added.
“If you talk to Premier League clubs, they want the League Cup to remain, they want it to remain part of the competition, the Wembley slot, the European place. That’s one of the things we’ve got to discuss and that’s got to happen now.”
Clarifying “Deliberate Play” for Offside Rulings
Affects: All Leagues
Crucial for: Offside decisions where an opponent touching the ball affects the decision
Explanation: Over the past season, we’ve seen a gray area around goals called onside due to an opponent “deliberately playing the ball,” which resets the offside phase (in other words, an opponent stood in an offside position is onside if the ball is not played by their team but is rather played by the opposition). The change this year is not a change in the rule, but rather an attempt to clarify the language.
The law itself still stands (a player is onside if an opponent deliberately plays the ball), but the guidelines for what constitutes “deliberate play” in accordance with the spirit of the game has been clarified, narrowing this category.
Play is deliberate if:
(1) The ball travelled from a distance and the player had a clear view of it (and presumably time to position themselves and make the decision to play it);
(2) The ball was not moving quickly (presumably aimed to cut out desperate or reflex attempts to play the ball);
(3) The direction of the ball was not unexpected (presumably aiming to solve bad touches that come from unexpected ricochets and contact that is not what a player intends); and
(4) The player had time to coordinate their body movement, i.e. it was not a case of instinctive stretching or jumping, or a movement that achieved limited contact/control (seems to cover some of these other categories, but broadly looks to limit the type of reach that allowed Mbappe to score in the Euros).
The guidance also notes that it’s understood that the ball is easier to play on the ground than in the air (which xG sickos are already aware of).
Changes in Substitutions
Affects: Premier League
Crucial for: Managing games and player fitness
Explanation: Teams will be allowed five (5) substitutions in Premier League matches for the 2022/23 season, to be made on three (3) possible in-game occasions and during the half-time break. In other words, you can now bring on five players, but you cannot stop the game for subs any more often than previously. Teams can now name nine (9) players on the bench.
GK Positioning on Penalties: They’ve made it clearer that keepers need to have a foot on or behind the line when a kick is taken to avoid keepers from being penalized due to vague wording. No effect for us.
Non-violent Sending Offs: They’ve changed the wording around cautions and sending offs to now say that “inappropriate behavior (e.g. offensively touching another person) is to be considered “offensive, insulting, or abusive” and thus warranting a sending off, with “action(s)” replacing “gesture(s)” in the wording.
Teams can get a free kick if someone spits or bites any member of the teams’ lists or match officials.
Matches will only be postponed (on a case-by-case basis) for “truly exceptional” circumstances and given that “the club concerned have taken all reasonable steps to avoid the necessity of making the application.”
They advertised a change in stoppage time allocation: The actual change is the addition of “playing” ahead of “time” in the phrase “Allowance is made by the referee in each half for all playing time lost in that half…”
Twitter users had their say as a major change is to be made to VAR that Premier League fans have been calling for…
@tomhough95: This should be done 100%
@zrdsx: Why not just play them at the time, like pretty much every other sport?
@MattMartinGFT: Why can’t they do this like Rugby? Allow the conversation to be heard live by everyone. No reason to hide.
@BoofDaddi: All we want is them to have live audio like in rugby and explain their decisions in real time