VAR boss responds to critics of system following first Premier League games with video referee

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The man in charge of implementing VAR, Neil Swarbrick, has defended the system and denied claims officials at Stockley Park have more power than referees at the match.

In the first two weekends of the season five decisions were overturned by VAR, with none of them being double-checked on the monitor by the referee on the pitch.

That has fuelled fears that the VAR team based near Heathrow, West London, are exerting a greater influence on crunch result-defining calls than the on-field officials.

But former Premier League referee Swarbrick, in charge of the VAR hub at Stockley, has dismissed that idea as nonsense.



VAR has already caused controversy this season

He said: “The perception it’s Stockley and not the refs making the decisions is definitely wrong.

“When we looked at VAR and how to use it best, the fundamental emphasis was for refs to do what they do – and not even think about VAR. Telling them to forget VAR when it’s there may seem odd – but that’s how we operate. Make your decision and if it’s one that can be changed – a penalty, red card or build-up to a goal – explain to VAR why you gave it. So all the emphasis is on the referee.

“If his reasons replicate what VAR is looking at – then it doesn’t matter what VAR thinks the decision should be.



Gabriel Jesus’ late goal against Tottenham was ruled out by VAR last weekend

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“That’s not what VAR is about. It’s about the ref making the right call – and setting the bar as high as possible.”

Technology in football further made the headlines this weekend with reports FIFA are considering replacing linesmen with robots in the future, while in lighter news VAR officials in Greece were spotted ordering a takeaway during a match after a camera panned to their office during a review of an incident on the pitch.



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