The new system is being used in England's Premier League for the first time this season. Photo: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

LONDON – The man in charge of English football's video assistant referee (VAR), Neil Swarbrick, says the new technology is a "work in progress" but would award it a 7-out-of-10 rating so far.

The new system, which is being used in England's Premier League for the first time this season, has caused controversy almost every weekend, with critics calling it inconsistent.

But Swarbrick said he would give VAR "about a seven-ish" out of 10.

"We have more decisions correct with VAR than without it," he told BBC Sport. "I'm comfortable with where we are but there's no doubt there's room for improvement. It's a work in progress.

"If the mark now is seven - early days - in two years' time I'm hoping for maybe an eight-and-a-half or nine."

Fans have called for consistency of decision and for the VAR process to be sped up, with some saying that goal celebrations have become muted as fans worry that their side's goal will be ruled out by VAR in any case.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was incensed on Sunday when his side was not awarded a penalty against Liverpool for an apparent handball.

Swarbrick said it might be a while before football emulates rugby, where referees audibly explain their decisions to fans via the stadium's big screens.

"It took rugby union six or seven years to get to that position. That doesn't happen overnight. You've just got to give us time," he said. "We are open to evolving with this - it's not a case of we're not budging. We will listen to feedback and where we can improve things, we will do."

DPA