The way armchair football fans perceive an official’s performance is about to change beyond recognition after the news that VAR discussions between Premier League referees and their team are to be televised.
The Telegraph (subscription required) note that Howard Webb, in his drive for PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) to be more transparent, has agreed to sit down with Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville on Sky Sports Monday Night Football and effectively listen in to what was spoken about at the time and how, as a result, a decision was reached.
There will also be a potential new show called Match Officials: Mic’d Up, and the opportunity of post-match interviews with officials in future.
Supporters in stadiums can currently only see this screen when VAR in in use
It’s quite the departure from when Mike Riley was in charge of the elite group of officials.
Back then there was a ‘closed shop’ mentality and an unwillingness to enter into dialogue, to the obvious chagrin of Premier League managers, broadcasters and supporters.
Whilst Webb’s explanations might not cut it with the viewing public, he has to be applauded for taking the leap.
Supporters are often left scratching their heads as to a particular decision, and though it won’t be like rugby matches where those in the stands can hear the official’s explanations in real time, it’s absolutely a move in the right direction and may elicit some understanding from those that pay their hard-earned.
Premier League football is likely to never be the same again.
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