VAR officials who missed Liverpool’s ‘onside’ goal to be replaced

VAR Darren England and assistant Dan Cook have been replaced for the rest of the weekend’s fixtures

Jamie Braidwood
Sunday 01 October 2023 13:17 BST
Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou said he has never been a fan of VAR after their 2-1 win over Liverpool

The VAR officials who failed to intervene when Liverpool had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside in their defeat to Tottenham have been stood down from the rest of this weekend’s fixtures.

Darren England and assistant Dan Cook have been replaced for this afternoon’s match between Nottingham Forest and Brentford as well as Monday night’s game between Fulham and Chelsea.

The VAR team failed to overturn Luis Diaz’s disallowed goal, despite the Liverpool forward clearly being onside, while the referees’ body admitted after the match that a “significant human error” had been made.

Howard Webb also spoke to Liverpool after the match and there was an apology from the referees’ chief.

It has been revealed that Diaz’s goal was incorrectly ruled out for offside because the VAR team checking the decision mistakenly thought that the on-field decision was onside.

It has emerged that VAR lead official England drew the lines to check for offside and followed the process correctly to determine Diaz was onside for the goal.

But in reaching their decision, the VAR team failed to realise that on-field referee Simon Hooper and his assistant officials had initially ruled the goal out for offside.

Therefore, when the VAR relayed a message of “check complete” to the on-field referee, Hooper and his team disallowed Diaz’s goal and awarded a free kick to Tottenham.

What is not clear, however, is when the VAR officials realised that they had failed to intervene. Under the rules of the game, when Tottenham took the free kick to restart the match, the officials would have been unable to go back and award Diaz’s goal.

Luis Diaz was wrongly ruled offside

Liverpool went on to finish the match with nine men and suffered stoppage-time heartbreak when Joel Matip deflected Pedro Porro’s cross into his own net in the sixth minute of stoppage time, but the post-match discussions focused on the crucial first-half error.

“Who does that help now? We had that situation in the Wolves-Man United game. Did Wolves get the points? No,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reflected when informed of the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) statement.

“We will not get points for it so it doesn’t help. Nobody expects 100 per cent right decisions on [the] field but we all thought when VAR comes in that it might make things easier.

“I don’t know why the people... are they that much under pressure? Today the decision was made really quick, I would say, for that goal. It changed the momentum of the game, so that’s how it is.”

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher reacted to the decision on Twitter/X and said: “It’s an horrendous mistake no matter how they did it. But if they knew just after the Spurs free-kick was taken that they’d made a huge mistake, it’s nonsense they can’t bring it back just because a free-kick has been taken.”

Includes reporting from PA

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