Soccer

Liverpool criticise PGMOL and will ‘explore options’ after VAR error at Spurs

Darren England was the official in charge of VAR for the Tottenham v Liverpool game. (Adam Davy/PA)
Darren England was the official in charge of VAR for the Tottenham v Liverpool game. (Adam Davy/PA) Darren England was the official in charge of VAR for the Tottenham v Liverpool game. (Adam Davy/PA)

Liverpool have criticised the Professional Game Match Officials Limited and warned they will “explore the range of options available” following the VAR controversy at Tottenham.

The PGMOL admitted VAR officials Darren England and Dan Cook failed to act after Luis Diaz’s 34th-minute strike at Tottenham was wrongly ruled out for offside. Still images of the incident showed Cristian Romero playing Diaz onside.

The disallowed goal came with the match still goalless but after Curtis Jones had been controversially sent off following England’s intervention. Liverpool went on to lose 2-1.

The officials were stood down from duty for the rest of the weekend but Liverpool will continue to pursue the matter.

A statement read: “Liverpool Football Club acknowledges PGMOL’s admission of their failures last night. It is clear that the correct application of the laws of the game did not occur, resulting in sporting integrity being undermined.

“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.

“It is therefore unsatisfactory that sufficient time was not afforded to allow the correct decision to be made and that there was no subsequent intervention.

Liverpool v West Ham United – Premier League – Anfield
Liverpool v West Ham United – Premier League – Anfield Liverpool’s Luis Diaz had a goal wrongly ruled out at Tottenham. (Peter Byrne/PA)

“That such failings have already been categorised as ‘significant human error’ is also unacceptable. Any and all outcomes should be established only by the review and with full transparency.

“This is vital for the reliability of future decision making as it applies to all clubs with learnings being used to make improvements to processes in order to ensure this kind of situation cannot occur again.

“In the meantime, we will explore the range of options available, given the clear need for escalation and resolution.”

England was due to be fourth official at Sunday’s Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Brentford, while Cook was to be assistant referee for Monday’s west London derby between Fulham and Chelsea.

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Luis Diaz, centre, had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside against Tottenham (John Walton/PA)

But the PGMOL announced on Sunday morning that England, the main VAR official at Tottenham, had been replaced by Craig Pawson, while Eddie Smart will step in for Cook, who was the assistant VAR to England.

“Darren England, VAR on the Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool fixture, and Dan Cook, AVAR on the same game, have been replaced for the Nottingham Forest v Brentford and Fulham v Chelsea matches today and tomorrow night respectively,” a PGMOL statement said.

“Craig Pawson will now assume England’s duties as fourth official at the City Ground while Eddie Smart will take over from Cook as assistant referee at Craven Cottage.”

Son Heung-min put Spurs in front moments after Diaz’s goal was disallowed, and although Cody Gakpo levelled, Tottenham won 2-1 thanks to a stoppage-time own goal from Joel Matip, with Liverpool finishing the game with nine men after Diogo Jota also saw red.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Leeds United – Premier League – AMEX Stadium
Brighton and Hove Albion v Leeds United – Premier League – AMEX Stadium Dan Cook was the assistant VAR to Darren England (Mike Hewitt/PA)

In a statement on Saturday, PGMOL said: “PGMOL acknowledge a significant human error occurred during the first half of Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool.

“The goal by Luis Diaz was disallowed for offside by the on-field team of match officials.

“This was a clear and obvious factual error and should have resulted in the goal being awarded through VAR intervention, however, the VAR failed to intervene.

“PGMOL will conduct a full review into the circumstances which led to the error.”