VAR checks have slowed the game down
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Fulham defender Tim Ream has slammed the state of VAR in the Premier League, demanding that there must be an improvement on the “constant standing around waiting for decisions” currently afflicting the game.
VAR has been a source of debate and, at times, frustration ever since its introduction to the Premier League in August 2019 but scrutiny and online bile has grown in recent weeks following a number of controversial incidents.
A series of perceived high-profile blunders, which arguably came to a head in Arsenal’s match with Newcastle last weekend, have put the league’s officiating body, the PGMOL, under increasing scrutiny.
And centre-back Ream revealed a huge dissatisfaction among players with how video refereeing is dictating play and sucking the joy out of football.
Speaking on his podcast, The American Dream with Tim Ream, the USA international said: “Where do you even begin with it? I don’t even know where you begin anymore. Because, again, it just takes the emotion out of the game. There’s the constant just standing around waiting for decisions. There’s got to be a better way.
“But we’ve been saying this for three years now. Right? I know VAR has been in place for three or four years. I don’t remember.
“And why are we just saying ‘oh, it needs to be refined’? We shouldn’t even be at this point. Like it does need touching up, it does need refining, but there’s just so much.”
Tim Ream is frustrated at how VAR is currently being used in the game
In addition to the scrutiny surrounding VAR, the quality of on-pitch refereeing has also been criticised by fans and the media.
Ream acknowledges how tough being a top-level referee is but wants to see standards improve and believes having ex-players in key roles could help things.
“The referees, they do have a hard job,” he added. “I do not envy being a referee. But this is another conversation that we’ve had within the team: do they need an ex-player that played in the Premier League, at that level, to be a referee or be a VAR, would that be a solution?
“I mean, listen, I refereed when I was 13 or 14 years old and I can tell you that 30 to 40 parents on the sidelines suck. So 20,000 people to 50,000 people in a stadium cannot be a great situation for referees, right? That’s for sure. Again, that’s difficult for them.
“But yeah, I think that we’ve got to come up with something, whether it’s more training, better training, more intensive training. But how do you replicate that other than them making mistakes and learning from them? Unfortunately, that’s causing a lot of issues within the league.”
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