The audio recording related to Liverpool’s wrongly disallowed goal against Tottenham has been released, with referees’ body PGMOL confirming new video assistant referee protocols following a review.
Luis Diaz’s first-half goal in Tottenham’s late 2-1 win was incorrectly chalked off due to what PGMOL called a “significant human error,” with VAR Darren England and assistant VAR Dan Cook stood down for this weekend’s fixtures as a result.
Liverpool, who had said in a statement that they would “explore the options available,” had requested to receive the audio of the exchange between referee Simon Hooper and those in the VAR room at Stockley Park.
That has now been released publicly via the Premier League, with PGMOL announcing it had identified “key learnings to mitigate against the risk of a future error”.
PGMOL also said its review had been shared with all Premier League clubs.
A statement on Tuesday evening read: “PGMOL can confirm that we have carried out a review into the circumstances which led to the Luis Diaz goal being incorrectly disallowed for offside in the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC.
“We recognise standards fell short of expectations and acknowledged the error to Liverpool immediately after the conclusion of the fixture.
“A detailed report, including the key learnings and immediate actions taken, alongside the audio between the on-field officials and VAR team has been submitted to the Premier League, who have shared it with Liverpool FC and subsequently all other Premier League clubs.
“The review of the on-field and VAR decision-making processes and application of the decision-making principles has identified the following key learnings to mitigate against the risk of a future error:
• Guidance to Video Match Officials has always emphasised the need for efficiency, but never at the expense of accuracy. This principle will be clearly reiterated
• A new VAR Communication Protocol will be developed to enhance the clarity of communication between the referee and the VAR team in relation to on-field decisions
• As an additional step to the process, the VAR will confirm the outcome of the VAR check process with the AVAR before confirming the final decision to the on-field officials.”
This incident has once again sparked debate about the effectiveness and reliability of VAR in football. While it was introduced with the intention of reducing errors and improving the accuracy of decisions, there have been numerous instances where it has been criticized for causing confusion and controversy.
The wrongly disallowed goal in the Liverpool vs Tottenham match is just one example of how VAR can impact the outcome of a game. In this case, the goal could have potentially changed the result of the match, denying Liverpool a valuable point.
The release of the audio recording of the exchange between the on-field officials and the VAR team provides transparency and allows fans and clubs to understand the decision-making process. It also holds the officials accountable for their actions.
PGMOL’s acknowledgment of the error and their commitment to implementing new protocols is a step in the right direction. The emphasis on accuracy over efficiency is crucial, as it ensures that decisions are made based on the correct interpretation of the rules.
The development of a new VAR Communication Protocol is also important in enhancing communication between the referee and the VAR team. Clear and effective communication is essential in avoiding misunderstandings and ensuring that decisions are made promptly and accurately.
Additionally, the introduction of an additional step in the process, where the VAR confirms the outcome of the VAR check process with the AVAR before confirming the final decision to the on-field officials, adds an extra layer of assurance. This double-checking process can help minimize errors and provide more confidence in the final decision.
It is encouraging to see that PGMOL has shared its review findings with all Premier League clubs. This ensures that all teams are aware of the changes being implemented and can provide feedback or suggestions for further improvement.
Overall, this incident highlights the ongoing challenges and complexities of implementing VAR in football. While it has the potential to improve decision-making, it is crucial to continuously review and refine the protocols to ensure that errors are minimized and the integrity of the game is upheld.
Football fans and clubs will be hoping that the new protocols and learnings from this incident will lead to a more consistent and accurate use of VAR in the future. Only time will tell if these changes will have the desired impact, but it is a positive step towards addressing the concerns surrounding VAR and ensuring fair play on the pitch.