Express & Star

Matt Maher: TV show only adds more confusion to VAR drama

Through the first month of a Premier League season there are some storylines which now feel almost guaranteed.

Andre Onana collides with Sasa Kalajdzic (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).

We know Everton will stumble out of the blocks and quickly be in crisis, Brighton by contrast will surge and be tipped as top four contenders. We know Manchester United’s performances will fall well short of expectations.

We also know there will be complaints about VAR. After a summer in which referee chiefs will tell us how they are finally going to get it right, a series of high-profile blunders and contentious calls will instead suggest they have never had it more wrong.

The difference this time is the errors, eventually, are being followed by an explanation.

This week delivered the first episode of Match Officials: Mic’d Up, a monthly TV show in which PGMOL technical director Howard Webb goes through correct and incorrect calls from the previous weeks, with viewers for the first time able to hear audio from the on-field and remote match officials.

The general response to the first episode was positive and the desire for greater transparency appreciated though, in the case of the non-penalty award after Andre Onana clattered into Sasa Kalajdzic at Old Trafford, you did wonder why it couldn’t have been delivered a few weeks earlier?

There’s also the risk allowing viewers to peak behind the VAR curtain throws up more questions than it does answers.

Anthony Taylor’s request for video assistant Jarred Gillet to “tell me what I’m going to see” after being advised to the check the monitor over his award of a penalty to Arsenal against Manchester United last Sunday was just one example which appeared at odds with protocol.