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Premier League managers are lobbying for video assistant referees to be permanently assigned to expanded five-person refereeing squads following a series of controversial decisions this season.

The Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, described the current system as “embarrassing” and a “disgrace” after his side’s defeat at Newcastle on Saturday and his club released a statement saying the referees’ body Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) “urgently needs to address the standard of officiating”.

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The chief executive of the League Managers Association (LMA), Richard Bevan, has confirmed that it has held talks with PGMOL about a new system that would involve referees working with the same VAR at every match they officiate. Bevan also said that members of the LMA have urged the referees’ body to review what constitutes a “clear and obvious” error due to “much confusion” about the methods used to overturn on-field decisions.

“The managers strongly feel that a VAR specialist should be considered a member of the close team of officials (referee, fourth official, assistant referees and VAR specialist) that become one unit for every game they are officiating together,” Bevan told the Daily Mail on Wednesday. “The use of officiating teams, with referees and assistant referees regularly working together, has already proven beneficial and produced positive results.

“PGMOL have confirmed to us that they are actively looking at how best to incorporate VARs into match-day refereeing teams, to ensure the dynamic between on-field referee and VAR is conducive to producing positive outcomes.


“The managers are also calling for a review (and simplification) of the interpretation of the term ‘clear and obvious’ in VAR decision-making, as this is a cause of much confusion at present.”

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Premier League could ban loans between partner clubs


Premier League clubs will reportedly vote on a temporary ban involving loan signings between teams with the same owners.

The ban would be in place as a temporary measure during the January transfer window if 14 of the 20 top-flight clubs approve the proposal at the next Premier League shareholders meeting on 21 November.

It would prevent the possibility of Newcastle United loaning reported midfield target Rúben Neves from the Saudi side Al-Hilal, as both sides are majority owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Other Premier League clubs who operate a multi-club model, with the owners having stakes in other clubs abroad, include Manchester City, Chelsea and Brighton. It is understood the temporary ban would be reviewed before a longer-term solution is sought. PA Media

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PGMOL has already been forced to make changes to the VAR system this season after the failure to award a goal to Luis Díaz during Tottenham’s win over Liverpool last month. That resulted with in-game communication protocols being altered, while PGMOL’s chief refereeing officer, Howard Webb, has publicly committed to recruiting more VAR specialists.

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Yet after high-profile errors resulted in Mike Dean and Lee Mason leaving their roles as VAR specialists last season, a shortage of trained video assistants is likely to prove the main obstacle to integrating them into match-day refereeing teams in the short term.