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Premier League admits VAR delays is spoiling fans' enjoyment of football

The Premier League now admits VAR decisions are too slow and is spoiling the enjoyment for supporters.

Delays repeatedly checking replays of key incidents mean matches are stretching far beyond the 90 minutes of regulation time.

According to data from the 228 fixtures so far, the average game length is now 101 minutes, 41 seconds - three and half minutes longer than last season - amid a clampdown as well on time-wasting by players.

Premier League chief football officer Tony Scholes said "the whole reputation of VAR" is affected by the number of VAR checks and the lack of clear communication for fans in stadiums.

Mr Scholes said: "The VAR experience is poor, the in-stadium experience for the supporter. It's nowhere near good enough. We know it's not.

"It affects supporters' enjoyment of the game, and we know it needs to change."

They are lobbying the International Football Association Board (IFAB) [football's law-making body], to be allowed to make VAR decisions "as open, transparent and informative" to supporters, so eventually video and audio of reviews are broadcast live to TV viewers and to fans in stadiums.

More immediately, the hope is to have the referee announcing the post-VAR review decision broadcast publicly - as was trialled at the Women's World Cup last year.

But referees should still be more sparing in deferring to video replays, although VAR can only be used to review goals, penalties, red cards and mistaken identity.

Mr Scholes said: "We're doing too many checks. We're taking too long in doing them as well.

"It's to a degree understandable given the level of scrutiny these guys are under, from ourselves, also from you guys [the media] as well and from supporters.

"But the reviews are taking too long and it's affecting the flow of the game and we're extremely aware of that and the need to improve that speed, whilst always maintaining the accuracy."

The league says 96% of decisions are now correct, compared to 82% before VAR was introduced in 2019.

But VAR has still led to 20 errors until just past the halfway point this season compared to 25 in all of the last campaign.

There are also 17 instances where VAR did not intervene as it should have and twice when it ruled incorrectly.

Read more from Sky News:
Klopp demands Spurs replay after VAR farce
VAR: No changes if they would 'cause more delays'

Mr Scholes said: "Clearly everything in the world of VAR is not perfect. We're aware of that and we know that we got work to do."

But the former Stoke City CEO insists VAR remains a "very effective tool" helping match officials on the pitch.

He said: "If the objective of VAR is to improve the accuracy of decision making, it is a significant success.

"We don't rest on this. Further development, further improvement is always required.

"I know myself from my club background, one mistake can be incredibly costly to a club, can be incredibly costly to individuals and it's important to all of us at the league and in the refereeing organisations stay mindful of that, and stay mindful of the need to keep developing, keep improving, so that we're in a world where no factual mistakes at all are made and subjective mistakes are minimised to the degree possible."