Keith Hackett Blasts Implementation of VAR in the Premier League & Poor Standard of Refereeing

?Former Head of Professional Game Match Officials Limited Keith Hackett has branded the implementation of VAR in the Premier League as a “disaster” – and claims there are less than five referees who are “capable of delivering a consistent performance” in the Premier League.

Hackett’s comments came just days after the controversial fixture between Everton and ?Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park, a game in which VAR was at the centre of the post-match discussions after failure to award a penalty decision against Dele Alli, and controversy around a red card against Son Heung-min.

Speaking on the Chronicles of a Gooner Podcast, Hackett pulled no punches when delivering his scathing assessment of the way referees and the Video Assistant Referee tool are being managed by Mike Riley and the PGMOL.

“We’ve got a problem in England with refereeing, the standard is falling,” he said. “We had the world’s best referees, we had a reputation, we provided a World Cup final referee and we had a good quality group. I left it [the PGMOL] in a good place and then I saw a lot of the coaches and management fired and replaced with what I considered to be less capable people. For me, that was an error.

“We’ve got less than five referees who are capable of delivering a consistent performance and one of those would be [Martin] Atkinson – mainly because of his experience. And that paints you a picture.

“A few years ago, I saw Chris Kavanagh come on and thought he was going to be a good referee and now what he seems to have done is get mixed in with the treacle.”

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Hackett went on to suggest how to go about fixing the VAR process, adding: “My advice to the PGMOL would be to pull in some former referees, look at the ones who have left the game recently and [insist] you’re VAR week in, week out. 

“Under the current regime you are doing a specialist job once every three or four weeks. Referees should referee, not be fourth officials or operate the VAR. We’ve got to value each job.”

Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Hackett went on to explain that from a fan’s perspective “delays always seem longer when we don’t know whats going on”, calling for the method of communication to the fans [in the stadium] to also be improved.

“We should not worry about the length of the delay because what we’re trying to do here is get to the right decision. If people are worried about time [added on], which I am, we should go to an independent time-keeper – take some of the work-load off of the referees and provide a greater honest explanation post-match of what has gone on.”

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