Mark Clattenburg: Ex-Premier League official says lack of trust in VAR could drive referees away
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Mark Clattenburg: Ex-Premier League official says lack of trust in VAR could drive referees away

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg is concerned that referees could leave the game as players lose faith in officials because of inconsistencies around the use of VAR.

Mark Clattenburg: Ex-Premier League official says lack of trust in VAR could drive referees away
Mark Clattenburg: Ex-Premier League official says lack of trust in VAR could drive referees away

Clattenburg officiated in the Premier League from 2004-2017 before leaving to take up an opportunity in Saudi Arabia.

VAR was introduced to the Premier League in 2019-20, after he had left.

“The problem you’ve got now is that the players now don’t trust the system,” Clattenburg told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I think sometimes referees don’t make a decision on the field because they know the technology should put the decision correct.

“But then you’ve got the argument, is VAR putting the decisions correct most weeks? Yes, it does sometimes, sometimes it doesn’t.

“So what it’s doing is that it creates a tension between the players. And the players are so highly strung because it’s a results-driven sport that they then vent the anger and dissent on to the referee.”

Arsenal called for “urgent” action on refereeing standards and backed manager Mikel Arteta after the Spaniard was highly critical of VAR when a goal scored by Newcastle’s Anthony Gordon was allowed to stand in a 1-0 win against the Gunners in November.

That was one of many controversial VAR incidents this season in the Premier League and the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) drafted in pilots and air traffic controllers to help England’s top referees in October.

“[Referees] need the authority to do the job in a safe environment. If not, many referees are going to leave the game and without referees unfortunately we are not going to get a game of football in,” said Clattenburg, who was chosen to referee the finals of the European Championship and the Champions League in 2016.

“I never, ever had a problem with dissent on the pitch because most of the time players used to respect the referee’s decision – probably prior to VAR. I think VAR has created a bit more tension between the players because they don’t know if they are going to get the decision or not.”

Turkey attack ‘has set back football’

Referee Halil Umut Meler was punched to the ground by MKE Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca, who ran on to the pitch after his team conceded a 97th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 Super Lig draw with Caykur Rizespor on Monday.

“Seeing that is horrific. This is a Fifa referee, refereeing in the top league in Turkey,” said Clattenburg.

“Even if the referee had made a mistake, it should not cause the reaction that it has from the president. For me this has set back football, certainly in Turkey, and around the world.”

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