LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 6, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp speaks with the fourth official during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brentford FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Premier League trial to mic up VAR officials will start next week

VAR audio from Premier League matches will be released for the first time as part of a trial led by referee chief Howard Webb.

Supporters will get the opportunity to hear referees as they discuss decisions referred to Stockley Park next Monday, in a show aired on Sky Sports in the UK.

Webb was appointed as the PGMOL’s chief refereeing officer in December and has been pushing for officials to provide greater transparency regarding their processes during matches.

FIFA currently allows audio footage to be released in the days after a game, although not live during a match, and Webb has been keen to enable supporters to hear referees and their reasoning for awarding certain decisions.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 29, 2013: Referee Howard Webb during the Premiership match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There have been a number of high-profile VAR errors in the Premier League this season, including an incorrect offside given against Brighton‘s Pervis Estupinan in February that led to John Brooks being removed from his duties for the Merseyside derby.

The Premier League Productions show will be available to supporters for the first time on May 15, with plans to increase the frequency of the shows throughout next season.

Webb previously worked with the MLS to produce a weekly show that detailed and explained any of the controversial issues to have occurred that week.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 16, 2022: Referee Anthony Taylor indicates a VAR review during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The developments will come as welcome news for Jurgen Klopp, who has been critical of referees on a number of occasions this season and recently offered his support for a controversial proposal to introduce a VAR “challenge” option for managers.

It is also likely to be well received by supporters who have, for a number of years, bemoaned the lack of accountability faced by Premier League officials for their mistakes.

Greater clarity between officials and the wider public can only be a positive step for the sport and it appears we will continue to see more of this in the Premier League over the coming years.