Match Officials Mic’d Up: How to watch PGMOL explain Premier League VAR decisions on TV and live stream

Ex-Premier League referee Howard Webb and Michael Owen may not be the most headline-grabbing TV double act but the duo’s new show could make for a fascinating watch.

For the first time this season, PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited – the governing body for referees in England) has sanctioned the release of audio between referees and their video-assisted counterparts (VAR) from the first four weeks of the new Premier League campaign.

As PGMOL’s first chief refereeing officer, Webb will talk Owen – whose credentials for selection are unknown – through a series of decisions in a 26-minute programme called Match Officials Mic’d Up.

On the weekend before the first broadcast of the 2023/24 campaign, Manchester City were the beneficiaries of a truly baffling offside decision that left Fulham manager Marco Silva raging and even earned the sympathy of Erling Haaland.

After an opening month littered with refereeing controversies, here’s everything you need to know about a chance to earn some insight into the decision-making process of officials.

This week is not the first rendition of the Webb-Owen partnership. On 15 May 2023, Match Officials Mic’d Up was unveiled on the Premier League’s in-house channel. Owen’s wooden expression soaked up Webb’s intriguing explanation of why Newcastle United had a penalty overturned against Arsenal earlier that month.

On the same day, a much wider audience saw Webb go on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football to walk Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher through five refereeing decisions across the 2022/23 Premier League campaign.

Both pundits were not alone in enjoying the novelty of hearing referees communicate amid the fury of a top-flight match, clearly and curtly explaining their reasoning. While the VAR audio debut largely served as a self-congratulatory exercise, Webb did admit that Brentford were wrongly awarded a penalty against Bournemouth in January 2023 after the officials at Stockley Park failed to spot an offensive foul in the buildup.

The first episode of Match Officials Mic’d Up for the 2023/24 season will be broadcast in the UK on Wednesday 6 September.

The new Premier League campaign is just 39 matches old but referees make an average of 245 decisions per game. In the hyper-critical modern realm of football, where social media practically encourages controversy, there have been almost 10,000 opportunities to cry foul play.

As recently as Sunday afternoon, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag vehemently rejected the accuracy of the video technology when Alejandro Garnacho’s strike was ruled out for offside. “That is the wrong angle,” the Dutchman argued, demonstrating a basic misunderstanding of how VAR makes its offside decisions. Webb could perhaps address this issue on Wednesday night.


Viewing time (BST)

Sky Sports PL


TNT Sports 2


Andre MarrinerAndre Marriner

Premier League referees are regularly directed to the pitch-side monitor by VAR / Robin Jones/GettyImages

Fans interested in the inner workings of Premier League refereeing decisions could be spared Owen’s banality if VAR audio was broadcast during matches. As the commentators regularly reference from the gantry, they are privy to the discussions of the officials in real-time.

When a decision is reviewed by the TMO in rugby union, television viewers can earwig the conversation.

However, Webb explained that this practice cannot be replicated in the Premier League during his appearance on Sky. “We can’t play it live in-game,” Webb revealed. “That’s not allowed within the laws of the game. FIFA don’t allow us to play this out during the game.”

Yet, the former official wondered aloud: “Who knows where that might go in the future. But there’s nothing to stop us doing what we’re doing tonight and showing that information later.” Wednesday night will be the latest opportunity to listen in.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.