PGMOL have given in to Liverpool’s demands and released the full audio between officials during the club’s hotly controversial defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were reduced to nine men after Luis Diaz had a perfectly legal goal wrongly disallowed after a communication breakdown between the on-field referee Simon Hooper and his video-assisted counterpart Darren England at Stockley Park.
The official refereeing body conceded that “significant human error” had led to the incorrect decision but Liverpool came out with a statement threatening to “explore the range of options available”. The club later demanded that the dialogue between officials during the decision-making process on Saturday be released.
FIFA laws prohibit the live broadcast of this audio but PGMOL have occasionally released snippets when trying to demystify the technology – rather than at the behest of angry clubs.
Alongside the audio, which has been published on the official Premier League website, PGMOL released a statement confirming the series of events that led to the incorrect call. It read: “As stated shortly after the full-time whistle on Saturday evening, we acknowledged in a statement that a significant human error had occurred during the aforementioned match, which we recognise should have resulted in a goal being awarded through VAR intervention.
“As with all goal situations, the VAR team checked every aspect of the goal. After the on-field officials had disallowed the goal for offside, the checking phase and process started and was carried out correctly by the VAR. The kick-point selection was accurate and the use of a single 2D line on the foot of the second rear-most defender was also correctly positioned.
“The image created showed that Luis Diaz was clearly onside, without the need for the insertion of a second line. In a lapse of concentration and loss of focus in that moment, the VAR lost sight of the on-field decision and he incorrectly communicated “check complete”, therefore inadvertently confirming the on-field decision. He did this without any dialogue with the AVAR [Assistant VAR].
“The match then restarted immediately. After a few seconds, the Replay Operator and then the AVAR queried the check-complete outcome with the VAR and asked him to review the image that had been created, pointing out that the original on-field decision had been offside, but this was not communicated to the on-field team at any point during the match.
“The VAR team then gave consideration as to whether the game could be stopped at that point, however the VAR and AVAR concluded that the VAR protocol within the Laws of the Game would not permit that to happen, and they decided intervention was not possible as play had restarted.”
The refereeing body added: “PGMOL has carried out a review into the circumstances which led to this incorrect outcome and the subsequent learnings will be implemented to mitigate the risk of errors occurring in the future.”
Full transcript of VAR audio in Tottenham-Liverpool
Assistant Referee 1: Waiting. Delaying, delaying.
VAR: Possible offside, Diaz.
Assistant Referee 2: Give it
Assistant Referee 1: Coming back for the offside, mate.
VAR: Just checking the offside. Delay, delay. Give the kick point, let’s go. Kick point, please?
Referee: Yeah, no worries mate.
Replay Operator: So, here we are. Just get a tight angle.
VAR: Yeah, give me 2D line ready after this one for frame two after that.
Replay Operator: So frame two there?
VAR: Perfect, yeah. 2D line on the left boot.
Replay Operator: Let me just switch angles.
VAR: Romero, I think it is?
Replay Operator: I think it might be better with this angle. Happy with this angle?
Replay Operator: 2D line on the boot?
VAR: 2D line on the boot.
Replay Operator: Yep, OK. So 2D line on the boot.
VAR: And stop. Check complete, check complete. That’s fine, perfect.
Assistant Referee 1: Playing.
Referee: Cheers mate.
VAR: Thank you mate.
Referee: Well done boys, good process.
Replay Operator: Wait, wait, wait. The on-field decision was offside. Are you happy with this?
Assistant VAR: Offside, goal, yeah.
Assistant VAR: That’s wrong, Daz [Darren England].
Replay Operator: On-field decision was offside. Are you happy with this image? Yeah it’s onside. The image that we gave them was onside.
VAR: Oh ****.
Replay Operator: Delay, delay. Oli [PGMOL Hub Ops] is saying to delay.
Replay Operator: Oli’s calling in to say delay the game. The decision is onside.
VAR: We can’t do anything.
Replay Operator: Oli’s saying to delay. Oli’s saying to delay.
Fourth official: Yeah?
Replay Operator: Delay the game, delay the game. Stop the game.
VAR: They’ve restarted the game. Can’t do anything.
Assistant VAR: Yeah, they’ve restarted. Yeah.
VAR: Can’t do anything.
Assistant VAR: Yeah.
VAR: I can’t do anything, I can’t do anything.
PGMOL released a second statement detailing the review of proceedings and conclusions made from the blunder at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“PGMOL can confirm that we have carried out a review into the circumstances which led to the Luis Diaz goal being incorrectly disallowed for offside in the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC,” the statement began.
“We recognise standards fell short of expectations and acknowledged the error to Liverpool immediately after the conclusion of the fixture.
“A detailed report, including the key learnings and immediate actions taken, alongside the audio between the on-field officials and VAR team has been submitted to the Premier League, who have shared it with Liverpool FC and subsequently all other Premier League Clubs.
“The review of the on-field and VAR decision-making processes and application of the decision-making principles has identified the following key learnings to mitigate against the risk of a future error:
“PGMOL are committed to enhancing VAR performance through a new training programme which started this season and focuses on process and best practice for all VARs, AVARs and Replay Operators in their specific roles. While we have a number of FIFA-recognised VARs, work is ongoing to create a dedicated pool of VAR specialists.
“The VAR and AVAR in question were removed from their remaining fixtures in Match Round 7 in the Premier League and have not been included in the appointments for Match Round 8 this weekend.
“PGMOL and The FA have also agreed to review the policy to allow match officials to officiate matches outside of FIFA or UEFA appointments.”
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