Head of referees Mike Riley has revealed that there are no immediate plans for Video Assistant Referees (VAR) conversations to be relayed to the fans when the technology is introduced to the Premier League at the start of the 2019/20 season. However, it is an idea that could be implemented in the future.
The technology has been used in a number of high-profile leagues in recent years, such as in Italy and Spain, as well as the latest editions of the men's and women's World Cups. However, in England, it has only previously been available in some FA Cup and Carabao Cup games.
VAR has become a major talking point in football, with supporters wanting to know what is going on when decisions are being reviewed. Riley, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) managing director, understands their frustrations but does not want to make interactions heard for the moment.
"I think we want to maintain the privacy, the intimacy, of conversations that take place between players and referees on the field of play. In time, in making sure that everyone understands decisions, you can see a rationale for it. But we're not there yet", Riley told Sky Sports News.
Sky's report adds that Riley will not make any immediate request to the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to allow fans to hear the match officials, with 2026 likely to be the next possible opportunity for change.
Across the two seasons where VAR was used in cup competitions in England, the average review took 84 seconds, leaving some fans bemused by the delays in play. However, Riley referred to how technology remains a work in progress in football, and that it will take time for it to be truly accepted as it has been in other sports.
He added: "Probably the one thing to keep in mind is that, in sports that have implemented technology - cricket, rugby union, for example - it's taken about seven years to get from the start of the technology to somewhere where everyone's comfortable with it."
Arsenal manager Unai Emery was alongside other coaches who attended a VAR workshop on Thursday afternoon, as the Premier League looks to implement the technology in to the game as smoothly as possible. It will be used for the first time in the Premier League when Liverpool take on Norwich on 9 August.