In the seventh match of the Premier League season between undefeated sides Tottenham and Liverpool, the referees were the stars of the show, not the players.
Curtis Jones was red-carded for a delicate decision, and the first goal he scored with one man down was cancelled out by an offside decision.
Despite being clearly onside, the referee’s team was not even able to draw a line in the sand with VAR, and the offside was ruled out, revealing the low level of the officiating crew.
The referee then turned into a Tottenham man, as VAR did not intervene even when Joe Gomez was clearly brought down, and Destiny Udogie, who appealed for a card, was not shown a second yellow card.
Later, the PGMOL acknowledged the coordination error and apologized for the cancellation of Luis Diaz’s first goal, but that did not calm Liverpool’s anger.
They issued a formal statement and strongly demanded improvements from the association, which concluded that it was a human error without any proper verification.
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.
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.Liverpoolfc.com