This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Aston Villa’s Chief Executive Officer Christian Purslow has played an influential role in the club’s current direction under new owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, but the 55-year-old has been speaking out regarding the latest updates to VAR in the 2019/20 Premier League campaign.
“They’ve [Premier League clubs] got grave concerns but so has everyone in the room. We’ve had a very robust discussion and the message has got through to the league and to the referees association that fans are unhappy and many other stakeholders in the game think we’ve got to do a whole lot better.
“I expect to see real improvements in the speed of decisions [VAR], the consistency, which is what everybody craves. I think above else for all else for those of us in-stadia we want much better communication for what’s going on before, during and after.”
Despite VAR chief Neil Swarbrick rating the latest technology in the Premier League as a “seven out of ten”, there can be no doubting that fundamental flaws remain in the overall operation.
The issues that Purslow cites including “consistency” stand out as one of VAR’s biggest flaws, yet if collaboration can occur between the “stakeholders” that the Villa CEO refers to, it is unlikely that the current situation is beyond a state of repair.
Although Villa have been on the receiving end of a number of refereeing decisions relating to VAR, including Kevin Friend disallowing a Jack Grealish equaliser at Crystal Palace as well as Conor Hourihane’s strike against Brighton being ruled out despite no evident infringement, Purslow’s comments reflect a wider perspective on the shortcomings of the technology so far this season.
It will be vital for VAR to progress and the rating that Swarbrick alludes to should move higher, but taking on board the feedback that the likes of Purslow have provided on behalf of their clubs will be vital if the system is to improve in the current campaign.