‘PGMOL have made a complete mess of VAR’ – Keith Hackett is furious with lack of competency from current officials

After yet another ridiculous VAR decision during the week, so bad that the handball law is being amended, the spotlight has fallen on the officials in English football’s top-flight.

For far too long now, the men in the middle, and now those at Stockley Park operating the VAR, have been well below par.

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However, there still doesn’t appear to be any accountability from PGMOL.

Incredibly, former referee, Lee Probert, has suggested that VAR is working just fine.

“People say VAR is ruining football, but it isn’t,” he said to BBC Sport.

“[…] The problem is some things are open to different interpretations. If you have no clear definition of what constitutes a handball, you’re going to get different decisions from week to week.

“And when you add that to the fact there is a game nearly every night at the moment, it becomes an increasingly difficult job.

“The current schedule does not allow for much recovery time so fatigue, injuries and mental tiredness all come into play for both players and officials.

“I’ve seen former referees and pundits questioning the competency of current officials, which is sad and disappointing.”

Probert’s excuses have provoked a stinging rebuke from former PGMOL chief, Keith Hackett.

“The facts are that £21m is being spent annually on providing world class match officials to officiate games at the Premier League, Championship and Leagues 1 & 2,” Hackett told CaughtOffside.

“Whilst the schedule of games is demanding, unlike referees in my day who finished a game and then had to drive hundreds of miles home and go to work the next morning, todays referees have time to do recovery sessions in time for their next appointment.

“Lets face it, the PGMOL have made a complete mess of VAR. First of all delaying its introduction, then not operating with a pitch-side monitor and starting to draw lines making offside decisions look ridiculous.

“All the PGMOL have to do is bin the offside lines and improve the communication to spectators.

“Then get the man in charge of VAR, Greg Barkey of PRO, the professional referees in America, to run some workshops for the PGMOL.

“By the way, they do not operate the lines when checking offside, and VAR interference currently only comes in once in every three games in MLS.”

Quite how Probert, even with the best of intentions, can back up his former employers after they’ve made mistake after mistake this season, is anyone’s guess.

Perhaps that remains part of the problem.

That those within their little PGMOL bubble believe that they are always right and everyone else is always wrong.

Maybe it’s time for change.

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