Howard Webb wants greater VAR transparency in Premier League

Howard Webb has said he wants more openness about decision-making after taking over as head of referees for the Premier League.

Webb, a former Premier League official who took charge of the 2010 World Cup final, has left the same role at the Professional Refereeing Organization for Major League Soccer to return to England, taking up the post of chief referee for PGMOL from December 1. took .

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“My biggest role is to take some of the learning from my time away from the English game, apply some of it in terms of leadership and coaching, and try to change the perception a bit and be more open, more open.” Webb said. “Not everything we did in Major League Soccer will work here, it’s a different environment, but some things will.

“We want to engage with people, and manage expectations a little better than I think has been done before, and help with feedback.”

Webb added: “As it stands in the minute, there is obviously a sense that the understanding could be better, and the level of clarity could be better.”

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The voice between VAR and the referee is released weekly by MLS, and while this may not happen immediately in the Premier League it is something Webb is working towards.

“I hope we get to the point where we can share some voices,” Webb said. “Even if one does not agree with the final decision, one can understand the process and reason and accept the decision more often.

“We’re not going to satisfy and please everyone, some decisions divide opinions. You’ve made clearly right decisions, and clearly wrong decisions, and then there’s this gray area of ​​subjectivity where people form an opinion.”

Webb replaces Mike Riley as part of a revamp of PGMOL, the organization that oversees refereeing in England. He is part of a new leadership team that also includes Danielle Every (chief operating officer), Dr. Elite Referee Development Plan to improve standards.

Former rugby league referee and video referee Phil Bentham has also been appointed as VAR coach for the Premier League.

Webb hopes the changes he is making will give referees the confidence to stand by their decision on a VAR review when necessary. The Premier League said that of the 48 VAR interventions this season, six were wrong; This could have been prevented if the referee had refused to review the review.

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“I’ve seen the benefits of Phil, who has come in to really work on their communication,” Webb said. “Perhaps we will not have a problem in a world where that connection is available because we have nothing to hide. And the level of professionalism, and the way they communicate, is already very good.

“My job is to make enough sense so that we can get around the question that the VARs have to ask themselves: was it clearly wrong, as much as to make sense, but sometimes they can get it wrong . and therefore the referee should have the right when they go on the screen to say ‘thank you, I appreciate the opportunity but I don’t think I made a clear and obvious mistake.’ That’s why we have to do a lot of management.”

Webb also said that the PGMOL is keen to create a better way for former players to become referees; two current Premier League officials started out as professional players before turning to refereeing, Simon Hooper (Swindon) and Darren England (Barnsley.)

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“It’s a great way to get involved in the game and we need to look at how we can get people into refereeing,” Webb explained. “We’ve always struggled to get ex-players involved. I’m sure someone out there will want to be a friend, someone who has played in the Football League.

“I don’t expect players who have played at the highest level, and have other opportunities, to come into it. Injuries or whatever, I think there’s an opportunity for someone to really blaze a trail and we’re going to take it heartily and welcome them with the skills they have acquired from their playing careers, provided they have the other skills they need to succeed.

“You can’t pass the basic experience you need but you can take what they already have experience in the game, whatever their role is, and build on that as quickly as you can and get them in there as quickly as possible. as much as possible, and it will draw people in.”


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