The disastrous VAR check during Liverpool’s defeat against Tottenham is spreading further and further. The Reds are calling for consequences – and consider the refereeing organisation’s statement “unacceptable”
Liverpool FC are refusing to go back to business as usual after the video evidence glitch in Saturday’s Premier League top-of-the-table clash at Tottenham Hotspur. In a stinging statement on Sunday night, the Reds demanded clarification.
“We will consider a range of options available given the clear need for escalation and resolution,” it said, among other things. The club calls the fact that the decision to disallow Luis Diaz’s opening goal in the 35th minute because of a supposed offside position was not corrected by the VAR “an undermining of sporting integrity”.
Apparently, a communication error led to video assistant Darren England not correctly communicating the result of the goal review to referee Simon Hooper. By the time Spurs had restarted play with an indirect free-kick, it was too late for a subsequent clarification in terms of the rules.
Liverpool deem PGMOL statement “unacceptable “
The refereeing organisation responsible, PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited), was quick to acknowledge the slip-up after the game, which Liverpool lost 2-1 in an unfortunate double-overtime loss, but only spoke of a “significant human error” without giving details.
This was “also unacceptable”, the Reds criticised. “Any findings should only be established as part of the review and with full transparency. This is vital to the reliability of future decisions as it applies to all clubs and the lessons learned must be used to improve procedures to ensure such a situation does not happen again. “
The pressure on Webb is growing
While he said he “fully understands the pressures under which match officials operate, these pressures should actually be alleviated, not exacerbated, by the existence and application of VAR. It is therefore unsatisfactory that there was not enough time to make the right decision and that there was no subsequent intervention.”
Exactly what “options” the club is now considering, he left open. What is clear is that refereeing boss Howard Webb has come under considerable pressure. The fact that VAR England and his assistant Dan Cook were immediately relieved of their further duties on this matchday on Sunday is not only likely to be insufficient for the Reds as the only consequence.