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Premier League refs told to start using pitch-side VAR monitors

22:10 EAT 17/01/2020
Michael Oliver VAR Monitor Crystal Palace Derby 2019-20
The monitors have so far only been used on one occasion this season, a common cause for complaint among fans

Premier League referees have been told to use pitch-side VAR monitors to review some red card decisions.

Referees’ apparent reluctance to use the monitors has been one of the most common complaints about the current use of VAR in the Premier League.

Now, after guidance from The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), they will be used for red card decisions where it is felt the match referee should have the final say.

This was the case when Michael Oliver recently sent off Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic in an FA Cup third-round match against Derby.

Having initially shown a yellow card, Oliver upgraded his decision to a red – to date, the only time this season the pitchside monitor has been used in a game in England.

Speaking in a press conference ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League game with Manchester United this weekend, Jurgen Klopp gave his support to the new development.

“I think the only reason to have the monitor is to use it,” Klopp said.

“I don’t 100 per cent understand why they were not used so far. If we can make the right decision then we should use all sources.

“I don’t hope it will happen five or six times a game that the ref goes to the monitor, but I read the e-mail and I saw that it will not happen with all decisions, it’s just 100 per cent clarification.”

Klopp’s rival at Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, was equally pleased with the decision.

"It is a positive move,” he said. “The referee will be taking responsibility himself. I like that."

However, it has been said that the new ruling is simply a restatement of PGMOL’s guidance from the very beginning, despite officials almost always opting not to use the pitch-side screens.

There are also concerns that having the match referee walk to the monitor, review the decision and then return to the pitch to confirm it could lead to even longer delays for VAR-influenced decisions.

Any changes that do occur will not affect the controversial calls being made on the new handball rules, or marginal offside calls.