In a new way to provide more transparency on major refereeing decisions in the Premier League, officials are releasing audio conversations from referees during matches. Howard Webb, the current referee chief of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), has introduced a new show surrounding these audio discussions.

Match Officials Mic’d Up features Webb as he plays audio between match referees and VAR officials during Premier League games. The former ref also discusses the significant calls during the early stages of the season.

Tuesday night’s show featured a few of the top controversial decisions so far in the campaign. This included allowing an offside goal for Manchester City against Fulham and a VAR decision to uphold Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk’s red card. However, perhaps the most interesting discussion on the show occurred during a disputed call during Manchester United’s victory against Wolves in mid-August.

Visiting Wolves should have received late penalty from VAR

Wolves thought they were set to be awarded a penalty late in the match at Old Trafford after United goalkeeper Andre Onana barged into Sasa Kalajdzic inside the box. Nevertheless, match referee Simon Hooper and VAR Michael Salisbury did not give Wolves the penalty.

According to the released conversation between Hooper and Salisbury, the VAR official initially wanted Hooper to review the incident. However, Salisbury surprisingly changed his mind on the decision after getting Kalajdzic mixed up with Craig Dawson.

Full conversation between the two officials on the Onana/Kalajdzic incident:

Referee Hooper: “No way, that’s a collision. We don’t give those.”

VAR Salisbury: “So Onana goes to challenge the ball…”

Referee Hooper: “Goal kick.”

VAR Salisbury: “Just delay. Delay, delay, checking possible penalty.

Referee Hooper: “No worries mate.”

VAR Salisbury: “You’ll want to view this because I think Onana collides into it. He tries to go to the ball and he makes aerial contact with the Wolves player. It’s late and it’s clumsy in my opinion. Dawson wins the header, but it’s late, very late in the aerial challenge.”

“I think because the Wolves player doesn’t head the ball, yeah because Dawson heads it, therefore it’s a normal collision as they’ve both challenged the ball. Check complete.”

Referee Hooper: “Check complete.”

PGMOL chief admits mistakes in Man United match

Webb then admits that both referees made a mistake an the moment.

“I think from the outset I want to say that should have led to an intervention by VAR which should have seen a video review being recommended and the referee should have gone to the screen,” stated Webb. “I’m confident he would have seen the images we’ve seen and awarded a penalty.”

“We acknowledged that as an error in the opening week which was of course disappointing. But we’ll try going forward to ensure that type of error doesn’t happen again.”

As a result of the mistake, United went on to beat Wolves in the match and earn all three points. Wolves currently sits 15th in the Premier League table at the moment and will need to pick up points wherever they can to avoid a relegation scrap.

PHOTO: IMAGO & Colorsport