Premier League clubs attending Thursday meeting with VAR top of agenda

Manchester City, Brighton and Aston Villa among clubs that have written to Premier League to ask for clarification on use of VAR; Prince William delivering Heads Up presentation on mental health

VAR provided another series of controversial moments in the Premier League last weekend 1:04
Sky Sports News reporter Rebecca Williams outlines what will be covered in the Premier League clubs' meeting on Thursday, with VAR expected to the main topic of discussion

VAR will be at the top of the agenda when Premier League clubs meet at a secret London location on Thursday.

A number of sides have voiced their concerns about the technology to Sky Sports News, with one club insisting it has become a "crisis, instead of an opportunity" that is tarnishing the reputation of the league and the game.

Other topics to be discussed at shareholders meeting

  • Potential use of concussion substitutes in the Premier League
  • Implications of recent research into heading/concussion
  • Dates for next summer's transfer window
  • PL schedule for 2022 season around the Qatar World Cup
  • Starting date of Premeir League's new CEO David Pemsel

Manchester City, Brighton and Aston Villa have written to the Premier League for clarification over the use of VAR, expressing their concerns about how the technology is being used ahead of Thursday's meeting.

Referees chief Mike Riley, who has been charged with rolling out VAR, will speak at the shareholders meeting on Thursday.

1:08
The chiefs of various Premier League clubs arrive at an undisclosed location for Thursday's shareholders meeting, with VAR top of the agenda

He is expected to share data proving the technology has already led to a significant reduction in the number of wrong decisions being made by officials.

So far this season, VAR has overturned 29 Key Match Incidents (KMI), which would have gone unchallenged before this campaign.

In recent years, referees got an average of 82 per cent of Key Match Incidents correct, with officials now confident that figure is closer to 90 per cent.

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However, certain clubs are still unhappy, with some insisting VAR is "stopping the enjoyment of the game" and creating "confusion, bewilderment and anger from the fans in the stadium."

Sky Sports News has learned that a number of clubs have written to the Premier League to officially voice their concerns.

 0:56
It appeared that the ball struck the arm of Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold in the penalty area before the Reds broke and scored the opening goal from Fabinho, but VAR ruled it not to be handball

The worry for many is the length of time that it is taking for decisions to be made.

For example, at the weekend, it took three minutes 47 seconds for VAR to rule out David McGoldrick's goal for Sheffield United, after it was decided John Lundstram was marginally offside in the build-up.

There also seem to be concerns that referees are not checking pitchside monitors.

Some clubs believe referees are covering their own backs, with one insisting: "They don't seem to want to be the subject of abuse aimed at VAR."

Another told Sky Sports News: "We believe they are covering each other, themselves and those at Stockley Park."

Michael Oliver Pep Guaridola 0:42
Vincent Kompany says he is "confused" after VAR supported Michael Oliver's decision to deny Manchester City a penalty against Liverpool

While there seems to be widespread frustration about the way VAR is working, most clubs point out that they will not be asking for it to be stopped.

They want consistency and for fans in the stadium to be kept aware of when VAR decisions are being made.

Many clubs have also pointed out that they haven't received any guidance about the technology since a pre-season briefing from VAR Chief, Neil Swarbrick.

There are around three Premier League Shareholders' meetings held each season. Chief Executives from the league's 20 clubs usually attend, as well as Premier League bosses.

Also on the agenda on Thursday will be the January transfer window and the results of a recent concussion report that found footballers are three-and-a-half times more likely to suffer from degenerative brain conditions than the general population.

Prince William will also be giving a presentation to the Premier League clubs to discuss his charity, Heads Together, and their initiative, Heads Up.

The FA have partnered with Heads Together to create Heads Up - a season-long mental health campaign which hopes to encourage more men to feel comfortable talking about their mental health, and feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times.

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