In-Game Audio Shared for the First Time to Reveal VAR Officials’ Discussions During a Match

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, receiving criticisms for its questionable technique and controversial judgments. One of the main issues with VAR is that viewers and spectators cannot hear the conversations that take place between match officials while a decision is being made; however, Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) chief refereeing officer Howard Webb has now shared astonishing audio clips to clarify his stance on the highly contentious matter. In-game audio was revealed yesterday, publicly disclosing the discussions between the officials before coming to a decision. Ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League match against Leicester City on Monday, Webb joined Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher to explain the VAR calls.

Webb discussed several steps before referring to the disallowed goal against Liverpool, which revolved around Chelsea midfielder Kai Havertz’s handball. Webb also stated that it is not possible to release audio discussions during a live game as FIFA does not allow it. “Obviously, this is something new. We are making a small step forward and going forward into next season we’ll be looking to do more of the same. We can’t play it live in-game. That is not allowed within the laws of the game. FIFA doesn’t allow it to be played out during the game,” the former Premier League referee stated in an interview with Sky Sports.

According to reports, the Premier League has considered implementing more cameras to support the match officials.

Howard Webb became the first chief refereeing officer of PGMOL last year. He became a professional referee in 2003 after previously serving as a police officer. Webb was appointed to FIFA’s international list of officials in 2005 and later officiated in the World Cup and the 2010 Champions League finals. He retired from professional refereeing in 2014 and joined North America’s Professional Referee Organization as a video review operations manager.

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