The decision-making process behind contentious VAR decisions in the Premier League will be publicised later this month in a groundbreaking initiative backed by the chief of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited.
Howard Webb, who assumed the role in December 2022, is set to release the audio of the officials behind high-profile blunders in the English top-flight this season in an attempt to harvest a better understanding from fans, players and coaches.
It is reported by the Daily Mail that Webb will then take to the Sky Sports cameras ahead of Liverpool’s visit to Leicester City on Monday Night Football on May 15. The former Premier League referee implemented a similar broadcast during his time in America when he held the role of Major League Soccer’s Manager of Video Assistant Referee Operations. The programme will also include audio and interactions with those operating VAR from Stockley Park.
Upon the announcement of his appointment at PGMOL back in August, Webb, who served as a professional referee for 14 years in England, revealed his plans to deliver the initiative to English shores.
“It’s quite interesting that I was involved in that conversation quite extensively in the US,” said Webb, speaking to Sky Sports. “I was part of a working group that looked at the possibilities of conversations between officials being broadcast live or quickly on a delay after the incident – and that’s a conversation that’s still ongoing and it’s one that I’m going to be watching closely.
“We’ll need certain permissions to make that happen from the world governing body.
“There’s certainly nothing to hide. I’ve been listening to some of the training that was delivered to VARs and referees here a couple of weeks ago and the level of communication is really high, is very professional and is very focused in terms of what the decision is being checked and the considerations that are being looked at.”
“We’re preparing potentially for a day where that will be played out. We can play out post-event now – we’ve done that a lot in MLS and I’ll be looking to share some of that because when you hear the levels these people are working to it leaves a positive impression.”
He added: “So we’ll be looking to increase that level of transparency going forward within what’s possible in the here and the now. Some things would need some authorisation from governing bodies, for example, to make that happen but everything’s on the table and we’re looking at ways to do that.
“The levels are good here and the perception is maybe not quite in line with reality.”