Home Sports Premier League VAR boss Swarbrick to leave at end of the season

Premier League VAR boss Swarbrick to leave at end of the season

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The Premier League’s head of VAR Neil Swarbrick will step down from his post at the end of the season amid recent vehement criticism of officiating.

Controversial decisions taken against Arsenal and Brighton prompted a crisis meeting within the PGMOL, the English game’s officiating body, but Swarbrick was involved in a separate incident that same weekend. The 57-year-old was on VAR duties for Chelsea’s game at West Ham when he elected not to recommend referee Craig Pawson take a second look at a near-certain penalty for the Blues in the closing stages.

The fallout from that weekend in particular was dramatic as both Swarbrick and Lee Mason – who failed to disallow Brentford’s equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Arsenal – were stripped of VAR responsibilities the following round. Mason then announced his exit from the organization by “mutual consent” on February 17, and The Athletic have revealed Swarbrick will leave also leave his post at the close of the current campaign.

However, it is thought that this decision had been in place for some time and is not a direct result of recent scrutiny surrounding Swarbrick and England’s officiating body. Nevertheless, it epitomizes a period of significant change in the PGMOL, with Mason gone and Howard Webb also coming in as chief refereeing officer back in August, taking over from managing director Mike Riley after 13 years in charge.

The Athletic report that a successor has not yet been selected for Swarbrick, although more officiating staff will be introduced next season as part of the ‘Elite Referee Development Plan’ established just over a year ago.


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