Frank Lampard hopes the Premier League VAR system will be as keen to use the pitchside replay screen available to referees as the officials generally are in the Champions League.
Chelsea were at the centre of one of several controversial moments during the Premier League fixtures this weekend when a penalty was awarded against Jorginho after a lengthy review. Lampard expressed his unhappiness with that after the game, and he believes the lack of opportunity given to on-pitch refs to watch the incident again is one of the main reasons why our domestic game’s use of VAR is at the moment considered more troublesome than UEFA’s games.
‘I think the use of the screen on the side of the pitch can be a help because we have seen this weekend in the Premier league decisions that firstly, have taken a long time to get to, which suggests there is an element of doubt. So for the clarity of the referee on the pitch who has to see things live and make quick decisions, the idea that he can go and look again has to be a good one.
‘I understand there are arguments around that in terms of fan reaction and pressure on referees but if the indication at the beginning was that those screens were going to be used sparingly, they haven’t been used sparingly, they haven’t been used at all. That is one thing that we could look at.
‘It happened for us with the penalty against Valencia which we got. The referee went and looked and double-checked and it worked well at that point.’
Lampard feels at the minute in the Premier League there are areas that aren’t right about VAR.
‘I don’t think it is for the want of trying or anyone having the wrong aims,’ he points out. ‘We want a better game and the right decisions but at the minute we are not quite getting there.
‘There needs to be a really open conversation, with referees, managers, fans. I know there are so many different opinions so it is not easy. The clinical decisions are an improvement. Firmino is one at the weekend which is very borderline [the Liverpool striker was ruled offside by VAR] which I know some people would disagree with but the clinical nature of offside and goal-line technology is positive.
‘It is the subjective in-between ones where we need to decide where we are coming from with the idea of clear and obvious, because at the weekend there was a lot of not clear and obvious and some were overturned and some were not.
‘That is not ideal and I felt very sorry for Son [the Tottenham player involved in a bad injury for Everton’s Andre Gomes] because of the nature of the injury and his reaction, and the fact he took a red card when looking back at the tackle, no way did the force of his tackle affect the injury. That is something that is horrendous and happens occasionally so I felt for Gomes as well obviously.’
Returning to our own match at the weekend, Lampard feels the reversal of referee’s Anthony Taylor’s penalty decision gives the worst of both worlds.
‘I felt he made the right decision, there was not enough there for it to be a penalty and then it gets over-turned by VAR, so the right decision gets made into the wrong decision and that has happened too many times at the minute.
‘The one thing I will give the referees is that it is new, we are still relying on humans, we must go with them a little bit and I am very happy to work with them and give my opinion. We must work for improvement because we all want better.’