Premier League referees chief Mike Riley has admitted VAR was incorrect to award Watford a penalty in our game at Vicarage Road earlier this month.
Riley said the decision was one of four instances of the ‘worst possible outcome’ of the video assistant referee system in the two weeks before the November international break.
Riley was speaking at a meeting of the 20 top-flight clubs this week. The former Premier League ref admitted Anthony Taylor’s decision not to award the Hornets a spot-kick after Gerard Deulofeu went down under pressure from Jorginho was a perfectly good one. VAR overruled it and Deulofeu scored the penalty, although we held on for a 2-1 win.
‘We are far from perfect and we have to improve the way we do things,’ Riley said.
‘Part of the balance of understanding ‘clear and obvious’ is that there will be times when we don’t intervene and everyone thinks we should. But that is a better place to be than intervening and everyone saying ‘you shouldn’t have done that’.
‘There are significant things we can do to improve, including better consistency in decision-making as VARs and the timings so we get minimum interference.’
The other VAR mistakes Riley highlighted were penalties given by VAR to Brighton and Manchester United in their wins over Everton and Norwich respectively, and the decision to disallow a goal scored by Arsenal’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos late in their draw with Crystal Palace.
After the win at Watford, our boss Frank Lampard said this on VAR: ‘We’re not in a great place with it.
‘Any decision that takes that long means they aren’t sure, so why aren’t we using the screens on the side of the pitch?
‘But if we are saying they are grey areas and we are overturning decisions because one referee somewhere else thinks it was more of a penalty than the referee on the pitch, then I think we are in a really dangerous place.’