Riley: "We are constantly learning. On these occasions, the judgement should have been that it was a clear and obvious error" 

VAR has made four mistakes so far during the Premier League season, referees' chief Mike Riley has admitted.
The examples, which include Fabian Schar's equaliser for Newcastle against Watford and Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans' apparent stamp on Bournemouth's Callum Wilson, were discussed in Thursday's meeting of Premier League shareholders.

The other two errors were 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.

  • 227 - Incidents checked by VAR
  • 6 - On-field decisions changed
  • 10 - Decisions that should have been overturned
Riley, the managing director of the elite refereeing body, PGMOL 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.

"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 where VAR could have had a benefit and intervened to help the referee on the day."
When pressed on why those mistakes were made, Riley added: "A combination of factors. That is the fascinating thing as this project evolves, we are constantly learning.

"We are trying not to disrupt the flow of the game but on these occasions, the judgement should have been that it was a clear and obvious error.
"One of the really positive things about the first four match rounds has been the quality of on-field performances.
"All the referees have incorporated the things we need to do with VAR into their refereeing while still focusing on making real-time decisions."

This is a frank admission from the official in charge of Premier League referees. He sat in front of the most powerful figures in English football and admitted: "VAR got it wrong." He left the hotel and highlighted his own referees' errors on Sky Sports News. Many officials would have ducked interviews but Riley faced it head on.

Let's not too be dramatic. There were four mistakes from nearly 230 checks, fewer than two percent. Riley admits his officials are "learning" and patience is the name of the game. On six occasions, VARs have overturned a decision. The general feeling is that VARs have helped referees, as they were intended to do.

VARs never promised to be perfect but supporters have high expectations. Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a poor decision. Some critics will continue to argue that if VARs don't correct clear and obvious errors, and only makes matters worse, what is the point in having it?
But, by admitting errors, Riley will hope to move on from them. He knows the pressure is on and VAR is in the spotlight for every game. He can't change the past but his guidance can help shape future decisions. Let's see how his referees react in this weekend's games.