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PGMOL claim Premier League VAR standards improving

Well, they certainly couldn’t have gotten any worse!

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Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Stephanie Meek - CameraSport via Getty Images

If there’s one team in the Premier League who have had a worse season than Chelsea, it’s the one with the whistles and flags and video monitors, i.e. the referees. Their subpar (at best) performances week in and week out continue to undermine the purported best-ness of the Premier League, and the implementation of video review for objective and subjective decisions has continued to prove almost as universally unfit for purpose.

Of course, the referees’ pseudo-union, the PGMOL wouldn’t agree with that sort of scathing assessment, and are in fact claiming that standards and methods are improving, especially since the World Cup. PGMOL chief Howard Webb is taking credit for this supposed improvement, with the number of correct decisions up, the number of incorrect decisions down, though the public perception, at best, unchanged, especially over at Brighton. (ESPN’s Dale Johnson, the pre-eminent VAR authority on the interwebs has all the “data” to support his claim.)

One notable change over the past couple months has been the removal of both Mike Dean (unofficially) and Lee Mason (by mutual consent) as full-time VARs, with Webb looking to put dedicated, awake people with actual eyesight in the role. He wants “VAR specialists” eventually rather than just former referees who had aged out and retired, and that’s probably a good idea.

On a less promising note, the potential implementation of the semi-automated offside technology we’ve seen in a few competitions, including the World Cup, won’t occur for at least another year.

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