The match between Tottenham and Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was a high-profile battle apart from its content. Beginning with the red card for Curtis Jones, the game was marred by questions over decisions, including the disallowed goal by Luis Diaz.
In particular, Luis Diaz’s first goal was cancelled due to an offside decision even though he was clearly onside, and Liverpool demanded an audio release of the day’s proceedings, as the home team scored a goal shortly thereafter.
Howard Webb, chief of the PGMOL, gave the background that led to the release of the audio data by the referees, but also said that many steps had been taken to prevent a similar situation from happening.
“We took the unusual step of releasing the audio from this situation not long after it happened. We wanted to show everybody what was very quickly apparent to us that it was a significant human error and loss of concentration. We’re all disappointed the VAR system didn’t step in to rectify the clear error we’d seen on the field with the disallowing of the goal.”
“Nobody is more disappointed than the officials themselves. They take pride in their work, they want to be a positive influence on the game, but in this situation it wasn’t the case. Of course without VAR that disallowed goal would still have been a disallowed goal but VAR exists to step in when we make a wrong decision on the field. So of course we’re disappointed.”
“Our job then was to try to find out what happened and what we can do to prevent that sort of thing happening again in the future.”
“You hear at the start of the clip, Darren England the VAR saying, ‘checking offside’. You can hear Darren is going through the process pretty quickly. We sometimes gets criticism for being a bit slow sometimes.”
“We do focus on efficiency but never at the sacrifice of accuracy. You can hear Darren is trying to be quick. He puts a line across on (Cristian) Romero (Tottenham defender) and that shows a very clear picture and I think at that point Darren loses sight of what the on-field decision was, sees the clear picture with Diaz in an offside picture, and quickly ‘check completes it’. He communicates ‘check complete’ to the on-field referee Simon Hooper, Simon hears, assumes the ‘check complete’ is for the offside goal, and the game restarts.”
“One of the things that has been brought into sharp focus. We want the on-field referee to communicate to the VAR what the on-field decision is very clearly and the VAR to go back to the referee and acknowledge they’ve heard that properly. Not just saying ‘check complete’ – because what are you ‘check completing’? We have put a quite lot of steps in place to ensure the error we saw in that important game doesn’t happen again.”Match Officials: Mic’d Up