Former English Premier League (EPL) referee, Howard Webb, has said that the Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will improve the English top-flight league this season. VAR will make its Premier League debut when Liverpool host Norwich City at Anfield to kick off the new season on Friday night.
But it is fair to say there are still plenty in England who question the impact of technology on the game. Critics of VAR question its speed and whether the drama of the goalscoring moment will be diluted by delays.
But Webb, who has spent the last two years managing the use of the technology in the Major League Soccer (MLS), believes those concerns are misplaced.
“The Premier League is not broken, it is a highly competitive league that is refereed well, but because of the speed of it, referees will make mistakes and VAR is there to help,” Webb told Reuters.
“There were 1,299 goals in MLS last season, and only four were allowed to stand that should have been cancelled. All of these were checked and in only four did the VAR not do their job properly and missed an offside or a handball.
“Ninety-eight percent of MLS goals stood last season. Almost all of those goals were checked without having to delay the restart. People just remember the ones that were ruled out.
“We are saying to the fans and the teams ‘celebrate. There is a very high chance that the goal is going to be allowed to stand’.”
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