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Referee boss makes VAR claim – and Aston Villa will be furious


Refereeing chief Mike Riley has admitted to teething problems with VAR and owned up to four errors made in the Premier League this season.

The controversial decision to chalk off Henri lansbury’s last-gasp goal at Crystal Palace infuriated Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith, players and supporters – but, according to Riley, it was the correct call.

The decision cost Villa a point on their travels and leaves them languishing in the relegation zone after four matches.

But Riley’s list of errors only includes Fabian Schar’s equaliser for Newcastle against Watford, Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans’ apparent stamp on Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson, the referee’s decision not to award Manchester City a penalty when Jefferson Lerma stood on David Silva’s foot in the Bournemouth box and a decision not to give West Ham a penalty when Sebastien Haller was brought down by Norwich’s Tom Trybull.

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Match Officials Scott Ledger, Kevin Friend and Andrew Garrett

Riley, the managing director of the elite refereeing body, PGMOL Ltd, told Sky Sports News: “We are learning as we go along and we are constantly improving.

“Out of the four match rounds, there have been some really good examples where we have intervened.

“There have been six incidents where VAR has advised the referee and we have got a better decision as a result.

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“There were four incidents where VAR didn’t intervene and had they done, we would have a better understanding of the role VAR plays in the game.

“[The mistakes] are all about the judgement of VAR and the process that we adopt.

“These are examples were VAR could have had a benefit and intervened to help the referee on the day.”

That means – in the eyes of the officials – Kevin Friend was correct to book Jack Grealish for diving in the build-up to Lansbury’s disallowed goal.



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