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Manchester City pile pressure on referees’ chief Mike Riley ahead of crunch VAR meeting

Manchester City have joined Brighton and Aston Villa in writing to Mike Riley, the referees’ chief, to outline concerns over VAR controversies ahead of a crunch meeting between clubs to discuss its progress.

Riley will on Thursday tell the top-tier shareholders that he believes the current tactic of using pitchside monitors “sparingly” should be maintained, despite recent furores.

Discussions surrounding potential changes will dominate the meeting after the third consecutive weekend of criticism, most recently from Pep Guardiola, who remonstrated with Riley on the touchline during his side’s 3-1 defeat at Liverpool. City have now written to Riley, the general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, to highlight several perceived inconsistencies in the use of VAR.

Telegraph Sport disclosed last week how clubs will debate fresh reforms, including whether managers should be allowed to appeal against a refereeing decision during a game like in cricket.

However, Riley remains determined to oppose calls from clubs to use pitchside monitors more liberally after controversial moments. He is set to tell clubs that he stands by the current policy: that the monitors must be used sparingly, after either “not seen” incidents or when information from the VAR is “outside the expectation range of the referee”.

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