From lack of key decision-making to delivering controversial judgments- the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has often been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Apart from its questionable technique, one of the major criticisms that the VAR has had to face is the fact that viewers and spectators do not get to hear the conversations between the match officials while taking a decision.
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Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) chief refereeing officer Howard Webb has now shared sensational audio clips to clear his stance on the highly contentious matter. In-game audio, which was released for the very first time yesterday, disclosed the discussions which went on between the officials before coming to a conclusion. Webb joined Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher to explain the VAR calls ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League game against Leicester City on Monday.
The first incident which was under scrutiny was Chelsea midfielder Kai Havertz’s handball in a disallowed goal against Liverpool. Howard Webb showed the unfolding of several steps before refereed passed the verdict.
Webb also pointed out that releasing audio of the discussions, during a live game, is not possible as FIFA does not permit it to do so. “Obviously, this is something new. We are making a small step forward and going forward into next season we’ll be looking to do more of the same. We can’t play it live in-game. That is not allowed within the laws of the game. FIFA doesn’t allow it to be played out during the game,” the former Premier League referee was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
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The Premier League has, however, reportedly considered coming up with more cameras to assist the match officials.
Howard Webb was appointed the first chief refereeing officer of PGMOL last year. He had taken charge of his first Premier League game in October 2003. Before becoming a professional referee, Webb had served as a police officer. Webb was appointed to FIFA’s international list of officials in 2005. Later, he officiated in the World Cup and the 2010 Champions League finals. He retired from professional referring in 2014. Following his retirement, the 51-year-old joined North America’s Professional Referee Organization as a video review operations manager.