Riley has admitted VAR mistakes so far during the premier League season. He says, “we are constantly learning. On these occasions, the judgment should have been a clear and obvious error.”
This is a frank admission from the official in charge of Premier League referees. He sat in front of the most powerful figures in English football and boldly admitted, “VAR got it wrong.”
Fabian Schar’s equalizer for Newcastle against Watford and Leicester midfielder Youri Tieleman’s apparent stamp on Bournemouth’ Callum Wilson were among the major topics of discussion in Thursday’s Premier League shareholders meeting.
Other two errors were the referee’s decision not to award a penalty to Manchester City when Jefferson Lerma stood on David Silva’s foot in the Bournemouth box. Denying a penalty to West Ham when Sebastian Haller was taken down by Norwich’s Tom Trybull is another mistake.
Without being dramatic, there were four mistakes from nearly 227 checks, fewer than two percent. Riley admits his officials are “learning” and patience is the name of the game.
On six occasions, VAR has overturned a decision.
Riley, the managing director of the elite refereeing body says, “we are learning as we go along and we are constantly improving.”
He added, “Out of the four-match round, there have been some really good examples where we have intervened. We have six incidents where VAR has advised the referee and we have got a better decision.”
“There are four incidents where VAR didn’t intervene and had they done; we would have a better understanding of the role VAR plays. Mistakes done are all about the judgment of VAR and the process that we adopt.”
“These are examples of where VAR could have had a benefit and intervened to help the referee on the day.”
When pressed on why the mistakes occurred, Riley replied, “A combination of factors. That is the fascinating thing as this project evolves. We are constantly learning.”
“We are trying not to disrupt the flow of the game. But on these occasions, the judgment should have been that it was clear with an obvious error.”
“One of the positive things about the first match rounds has been the quality of on-filed performances. All the referees have incorporated VAR into their refereeing while still focusing on making real-time decisions.”
Many officials would have ducked interviews but Riley faced it head-on. By admitting errors, he hopes to move on from them. Riley is aware of the pressure on VAR in the game spotlight. He can’t change the past but his guidance can help shape future decisions.
Let’s wait and see how his referees react in this weekend’s games.