Referee chief Mike Riley vows to make VAR work – despite two errors every week.

REFS chief Mike Riley vowed to make VAR work — as it emerged there are still an average of two key wrong calls every week.

Riley came under fire from club chiefs during the international break over the time taken to make VAR decisions and the lack of communication to fans.

 Mike Riley claims VAR has already improved decision-making

Mike Riley claims VAR has already improved decision-makingCredit: PA:Press Association

Prem bosses accept VAR is not foolproof, with four of the 27 overturned decisions this season now recognised as wrong.

But Riley insists it has already improved decision-making, with 91 per cent of “key match incident” calls this term correct, up from 82 per cent last season.

So far, referees would have made 47 KMI mistakes during games without the help of VAR.

On four occasions, though, the VAR intervention turned correct decisions into mistakes, including ruling out an Arsenal ‘winner’ against Crystal Palace in October for an adjudged foul that was not one.

That means there has been a total of 24 incorrect calls out of 267 in the first 12 weeks of the Prem — two in each set of matches.

Riley said: “We are going through a learning curve and know we have a long way to go.

“There is a debate throughout football over what is clearly and obviously an error.

“I remember talking to Howard Webb and he said the worst outcome is when the refereeing team on the field of play made the right decision but the VAR intervenes to make the wrong decisions.

“Part of the balance in understanding ‘clear and obvious’ mistakes is that there will be times we don’t intervene when everyone thinks we should.

“That’s a better place to be than intervening where everyone thinks we definitely shouldn’t.

“Managers would much rather you only give the things you are 100 per cent certain of than you think it’s 90 per cent. They want you to leave those alone.

“It’s a similar type of debate in VAR world — because you don’t want to intervene where the referee has got it right on the pitch.”

The recognition that errors have been made may not be accepted by those fans whose sides have been on the rough end of wrong decisions so far.

Chief among those are Watford, who suffered a double dose of VAR failure in their draw at Tottenham.

 There are still an average of two key wrong calls every week

There are still an average of two key wrong calls every weekCredit: Reuters

The Hornets should have had a penalty after Jan Vertonghen tripped Gerard Deulofeu, before Dele Alli’s equaliser was wrongly allowed after he nudged the ball with his arm.

Riley was put under pressure by club bosses at the meeting of the 20 Prem sides, with the biggest complaint over fans in the stadiums being short-changed.

However, 97 per cent of VAR checks have been completed inside 90 seconds and 91 per cent inside a minute.

Prem chiefs, though, believe managers now understand even close offside calls are scientifically based — although improvements and refinements to speed up the process are under way.

More information, explaining in extra detail what the VAR checks are for, will be introduced and displayed on giant screens from next month.

But the Prem is not allowed by the game’s rule-making body — the International FA Board — to broadcast the communication between refs and VARs.

While Riley insists routine use of pitchside monitors would only add to delays.

He is also confident the correct call percentage can get close to 95 per cent by the end of the season.

Riley added: “We accept we’re far from perfect. There are significant things we can do to improve.

“Of course there will always be debate over what is and isn’t a penalty, and every week we sit down and go through the decisions of the previous weekend.

“Then we can get better consistency of decision-making by VARs and improve the timing so we have that minimum interference.

“We will go through it faster and more efficiently based on what we’ve learned.

“If we achieve those things — which we will over time — then what we will end up with is better quality decision-making, better than 91 per cent.

“And actually, in a way, that minimises disruption to the game.”

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