Liverpool unimpressed with description of incident as "a significant human error"; Reds have made a formal request to the PGMOL for the audio conversations; PGMOL defends midweek UAE assignment
Monday 2 October 2023 20:22, UK
Liverpool want a transparent and thorough investigation into the procedural failings that saw Luis Diaz's goal incorrectly ruled out at Tottenham on Saturday.
Sky Sports News understands the club do not want to single out an official and have taken umbrage with PGMOL's framing of events as "a significant human error", which unfairly pits an entire breakdown in the application of the Laws of the Game solely on the VAR for the match, Darren England.
Liverpool want a thorough examination of the process and a terms of reference for the review. This would range from the appointment of the refereeing team - given three of them had worked in the United Arab Emirates 48 hours before the game, prompting questions of workload, fatigue and the quality of preparation - to the aftermath of an unprecedented error described as the worst seen in the Premier League.
The overriding sentiment is there needs to be a comprehensive procedural review rather than the scapegoating of any single human being. Jurgen Klopp had said in his post-match press conference: "I'm pretty sure whoever did that, who made that decision, didn't do it on purpose."
Liverpool have made a formal request to the PGMOL for the audio conversations between the officials to gain a clearer understanding of what happened and why protocol was placed above sporting integrity.
There has been a wide acknowledgment within the refereeing community that as such a seismic gaffe was made and picked up within seconds of the restart, the match should have been stopped to achieve the right outcome.
It has also been questioned why there was such a rush to make the initial decision when it has been stressed that accuracy is more important than the time it takes to reach a conclusion.
As one current official told Sky Sports News: "This is not about a subjective call, it is a goal - checked and confirmed - that wasn't given through, I would say, not one but a series of failings. It could have and should have been immediately corrected regardless of normal protocol given how many people are in the control room or are listening in. This was not a normal situation.
"I have to say there's a question management should answer too, it cannot just be on one person."
There has been conflicting information around when the referee Simon Hooper was informed Diaz's goal should have stood.
In Ref Watch on Sky Sports News, Dermot Gallagher said: "I've been assured at no point onwards did he tell the referee he had made a mistake from the 34th minute until half-time."
But it has been reported Hooper was made aware of the mistake shortly after the incident.
According to Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, Hooper was only told at half-time.
Transparency is key for Liverpool.
The club, in an unprecedented situation following an unprecedented officiating situation, stated they would "explore" options available to them. They are still learning what those are, but an example has been requesting the full audio conversations.
The statement did not say they would "pursue" all options. A demand for the game to be replayed was not mentioned or hinted at in their communique.
The reference to "escalation and resolution" is to highlight Liverpool would not simply accept PGMOL's vague statement about a "significant human error" and a review without terms of reference.
Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football:
"VAR has been a topic over the last few years for obvious reasons, but I don't think the feeling around it has ever been lower. I do really feel like this is a crisis point for VAR in this country.
"It's not just off the back of this decision; it's what's been happening all season. I don't want to pile on an official or Howard Webb. I could imagine they feel absolutely awful, and I'm not into the conspiracy theories - no one gains anything from this in terms of the officials. We've all been there in our jobs and made mistakes.
"I feel for them, but it is a horrendous mistake that is unprecedented and you can't actually quite believe the explanation that's been given.
"The bit on this where I'm really struggling is that the mistake has been made. If you're expecting Tottenham to be kicking off, as soon as that pass is made, I know - if I'm in there [the VAR hub] something has gone wrong. I know now - it doesn't take seven seconds. Within one second, you know a major mistake has happened.
"I can understand people saying they should be shouting at the referee - I'd be screaming. But maybe they need to say they have to wait until the ball has gone out of play.
"The ball then goes out of play. Nothing significant has happened in the game and it's now 30 seconds since that free-kick has been taken. It now takes Liverpool 27 seconds from when the ball goes out to when the ball comes into play. They stated protocol about not being allowed to stop play. I don't believe that. They've absolutely panicked and they froze."
Regarding VAR England, his assistant Dan Cook, and fourth official at Tottenham Michael Oliver working on Al Ain's victory over Sharjah 48 hours before the blockbuster Premier League fixture, PGMOL has said it is not uncommon practice.
The officials arrived back in London on Friday to prepare which, the body says, is routine for those who have had international appointments such as the Champions League in midweek.
However, the FA is a member of UEFA and FIFA. There is no obligation to sanction freelance work in other leagues. The travel considerations, and the perception of referees carrying out lucrative jobs in countries with ties to current Premier League clubs, are also different.
The matter of fatigue, workload, whether there is quality control with preparations, and if it aids the standard of officiating which is being questioned.
PGMOL did not respond on the above due to a huge number of incoming requests for comment.