VARs return to Premier League duty after Liverpool error

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) officials involved when Liverpool were wrongly denied a goal in last month’s Premier League loss at Tottenham Hotspur will return for this weekend’s fixtures.

Officials Darren England and Dan Cook were replaced for two matches that same weekend, before being excluded from the previous round of games.

England will be the fourth official for Brentford‘s home game against Burnley, while Cook will serve as an assistant referee for Manchester United match at Sheffield United.

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Nine-man Liverpool lost 2-1 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sept. 30 after Joël Matip scored an own goal in stoppage time. However, they should have taken the lead in the first half when Luis Díaz scored, only for the flag to go up for offside.

England incorrectly thought the on-field decision was “goal.” While he quickly identified that Díaz was onside, he told the referee “check complete” — which mistakenly told the on-field team the offside flag was correct.

The incorrect decision to disallow the goal led the English referees’ body PGMOL to issue a statement blaming “significant human error.”

Liverpool subsequently released a statement saying the error “undermined sporting integrity,” while manager Jurgen Klopp said the following week: “Not as a manager of Liverpool so much, more as a football person, I think the only outcome should be a replay.”

PGMOL admitted “standards fell short of expectations” after releasing audio of the VAR discussion and it, along with the English Football Association, also said it would review allowing referees to take charge of games in foreign leagues in midweek. England was part of a team of English officials who took charge of a game in the United Arab Emirates just 28 hours before the Spurs-Liverpool fixture.

The Premier League‘s Independent Key Match Incidents Panel has ruled Diogo Jota should not have been sent off in the second half of the match. With Curtis Jones having already been shown a straight red card, Jota was shown booked twice and subsequently sent off after two challenges in little more than a minute, both on Spurs defender Destiny Udogie.

The assessments of the panel for week seven concluded that the second tackle on Udogie in the 69th minute was not worthy of a yellow card from referee Simon Hooper. The report stated that “the majority deemed the decision as incorrect as they felt it did not meet the threshold for a yellow card,” with the five members voting 3-2 against a booking.

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