Premier League officials consider huge VAR change in wake of Nottingham Forest controversy

A major VAR change is on the horizon in the Premier League. (Image: Getty)

Premier League referees are set to start using stadium PA systems to announce why they have changed their decision after a VAR intervention, PGMOL chief Howard Webb has revealed. Officials will soon be able to explain why an original decision has been reversed after visiting the pitchside monitor to improve the information available to supporters and clubs.

VAR has faced intense scrutiny this season for a lack of clarification as much as mistakes, but that issue could soon be solved with the positive move.

A broadcast of the live conversation between referees and VARs isn’t permitted, but football’s lawmakers IFAB have trialled what represents the next best thing for over a year.

Reports in January claimed that in-game public explanations were primed to be introduced in the Premier League next season.

And on the latest episode of Match Officials Mic’d Up, Webb used an example from Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion’s 0-0 draw on April 3 to confirm that improvements to the fan experience were being explored.

“It does need improving. When you hear the clips on shows like this, it makes sense what’s happening. It all becomes apparent,” Webb told Michael Owen.

“You’ll hear the referee, Andy Madley, having been to the screen saying, ‘I’m going to speak to Lewis Dunk to explain why the penalty that he feels he should have isn’t going to happen because he’s fouled [Yoane] Wissa before that.’

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Nottingham Forest have publicly scathed Premier League refereeing. (Image: Getty)

“We’re looking at ways to improve the in-stadium experience. One of the things you’ll have seen maybe in FIFA tournaments, like the Women’s World Cup, is announcements from the referee once they’ve been to the screen. We’re looking at that.

“We’re keeping an open mind about whether that’s something we could utilise in the Premier League.

“For situations like this, it would be really useful for the referee to be able to speak to all of the people in the stadium – [to explain] the rationale for why you didn’t give a penalty because of the foul that happened before the penalty appeal when Dunk fouled Wissa.”

Nottingham Forest’s frustrations with refereeing decisions reached boiling point after their controversial 2-0 defeat against Everton earlier this month.

The City Ground club aimed fire at PGMOL with an explosive social media post, revealing they had expressed their unease with Stuart Attwell—a supporter of relegation rivals Luton Town—acting as the VAR.

Webb has since confirmed that Forest were wrongfully denied one of the three penalties they believed they should’ve been awarded at Goodison Park – when Ashley Young took out Callum Hudson-Odoi.

PGMOL now look set to impose a welcome change that should result in less confusion among supporters, players and clubs.