Referees governing body announces changes to VAR protocols after fallout from Diaz’s disallowed goal
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — The governing body for England’s referees will introduce changes to Video Assistant Referee (VAR) following the errors that led to Luiz Diaz’s disallowed goal for Liverpool against Tottenham last weekend.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has completed a review of the incident in Liverpool’s 2-1 loss at Spurs on Saturday.
It had already admitted its mistake after VAR Darren England failed to award Diaz’s goal, despite replays clearly showing the forward was onside. On Tuesday, it revealed new protocols that will be put in place to avoid a repeat in the future.
“We recognize standards fell short of expectations and acknowledged the error to Liverpool immediately after the conclusion of the fixture,” the PGMOL said. It added that it had made “key learnings to mitigate against the risk of a future error.”
PGMOL said a new VAR Communication Protocol would be developed to improve communication between the referee and the VAR team.
The VAR will also have to confirm the outcome of its check with the assistant VAR before informing on-field officials of the final decision.
The PGMOL also said it would reiterate that the speed of decision-making must not be at the expense of accuracy.
Liverpool had raised questions about “sporting integrity” after the loss. A win would have seen Jurgen Klopp’s team move to the top of the Premier League.
The club issued a statement on Sunday saying it would “explore the range of options available given the clear need for escalation and resolution.”
“It is clear that the correct application of the laws of the game did not occur, resulting in sporting integrity being undermined,” Liverpool said. “We fully accept the pressures that match officials work under but these pressures are supposed to be alleviated, not exacerbated, by the existence and implementation of VAR.”
Saturday’s error appeared to have been one of concentration and communication, with the VAR believing Diaz’s goal had initially been given. Upon review the verdict was to say the check was complete, meaning it was correct for the goal to stand.
But as the original on-field decision was to adjudge Diaz offside, the response of “check complete” appeared to confirm the offside decision was correct.
VAR Darren England and his assistant Dan Cook were stood down from further duty over the weekend and will not officiate any games during the next round of fixtures.
PGMOL said a detailed report, including audio between officials, had been submitted to the Premier League and subsequently shared with all of the top-flight clubs.
“PGMOL are committed to enhancing VAR performance through a new training program which started this season and focuses on process and best practice for all VARs, AVARs and Replay Operators in their specific roles,” the governing body said.
It said work was being done to create a dedicated pool of VAR specialists and added that, along with the English Football Association, it would review the policy allowing officials to officiate matches outside of FIFA or UEFA appointments.
It emerged that England and Cook had both officiated a game in the United Arab Emirates on the Thursday prior to the Tottenham and Liverpool match.