The Premier League Needs Video Replay NOW

Replay is a no-brainer for most leagues. The NFL and NHL have instituted replay with mostly successful results.

But then, there’s the Premier League. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great league in many ways:

  • It’s on first thing in the morning on the weekends. A little Premier League is the best way to start your weekend sports binge.
  • You have so much talent from all around the world on display.
  • It’s great to bet on. There’s nothing quite like finding Premier League betting odds and putting a little extra action into the game.

But, unlike other sports, the Premier League doesn’t quite know what to do with itself when it comes to video replay. VAR, or video assistant referee, is a currently available technology and the Football Association, the governing body for the professional soccer leagues in England, doesn’t quite know how to work it out yet.

The FA has used the technology in certain tournament games as a testing ground. The results have not been entirely accurate and VAR has not been applied consistently in England.

Meanwhile, Premier League referees are butchering calls leading to goals that could determine who wins or loses the league this year. Take this goal from Burnley against Liverpool, for instance:

This is a pretty clear foul. The Burnley player isn’t allowing Liverpool’s keeper to jump for the free kick. There’s no movement allowed there at all. But, the goal stands and Burnley take the early lead against Liverpool.

There was another bad decision that allowed Manchester City to take a lead against Watford. The call was so wrong that the governing body for referees put out a statement during the game that one of their own had gotten it wrong.

Luckily for referees and certain sets of fans, neither goal changed the result in favor of Manchester City, who won 3-1, or against Liverpool, who won 4-2. The two teams are first and second, respectively, in the Premier League and are currently separated by only one point in the table.

One goal, good or bad, can destroy, maintain or widen that gap. Given these incredibly thin margins of error, now would be the ideal time for VAR. Referees could double check themselves, which isn’t a bad thing.

But it’s clear through their failures using VAR that they’re just not ready yet. Which is frustrating, especially as the whole sporting world evolves around the Premier League. Everyone else is getting faster and better while Premier League fans are just sort of hoping that the inevitable mistake doesn’t sink your squad.

It could be so much better. But, for now, we’ll just cross our fingers.

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