Premier League managers 'really positive' over VAR, says Mike Riley
By Bryan Swanson, Chief Reporter
Last Updated: 01/08/19 8:33pm
Premier League managers are "really positive" about the introduction of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) this season, according to the official in charge of its referees.
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery joined several managers at the VAR Hub near Heathrow Airport on Thursday afternoon for a workshop with the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), Football Association and League Managers Association.
The Premier League is confident the use of VAR will bring clarity on key decisions and says managers have supported its philosophy of 'minimum interference, maximum benefit'.
"(They're) really, really positive." Mike Riley, PGMOL managing director, told Sky Sports News. "I think we all know that this season is going to be a journey that we're all going on. We need to make sure that we constantly keep in touch so that we're calibrating where we have the 'clear and obvious' bar and where we set the attacking phase of play.
"Those discussions have been ongoing throughout the season and we're all going into it in a really positive frame of mind."
Riley says Premier League players have also supported the system, which has been previously tested in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
"The players have spent a lot of time making sure they understand the detail," he said. "The club visits have been great in terms of having an opportunity for them to ask questions, get a better understanding, not just of VAR but law changes as well, so that when we start next Friday evening, we are all on the same page."
In live testing, there were 14 reviews in 69 games over two seasons with an average review time of 84 seconds.
The Premier League does not want VAR to slow down the pace of the game, following criticism of its use during this summer's Women's World Cup.
Riley added: "I think there's a challenge for all of us to say 'let's harness the advantages of VAR for the good of our competitions'. In the games last season, I think people saw better quality decisions and the game flowing. We only intervened once every five games to correct a decision and that was good for the game."