Liverpool Football Club has unleashed a furious response to the statement issued by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) concerning the disallowed goal scored by Luis Diaz during their recent defeat to Tottenham. The match, which ended with Spurs securing a 2-1 victory, was marred by contentious decisions that have now ignited a heated debate.
In the aftermath of the encounter, PGMOL acknowledged that VAR officials Darren England and Dan Cook failed to act appropriately when Diaz’s 34th-minute goal was unjustly ruled out for offside. Still images revealed that Cristian Romero had played Diaz onside, casting a shadow over the validity of the decision.
The disallowed goal took place with the match still goalless, but it followed the controversial sending-off of Curtis Jones after England’s intervention. Liverpool ended the game with nine players, as Diogo Jota was also dismissed.
Expressing their dissatisfaction with the officiating, Liverpool issued a statement that reads: “Liverpool Football Club acknowledges PGMOL’s admission of their failures last night. It is clear that the correct application of the laws of the game did not occur, resulting in sporting integrity being undermined.
“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 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.”
As a consequence of the controversy, both Darren England and Dan Cook, who were slated to officiate in subsequent matches, have been replaced. Craig Pawson will now assume England’s duties as the fourth official, while Eddie Smart takes over from Cook as the assistant referee.
The PGMOL, in a statement, said: “Darren England, VAR on the Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool fixture, and Dan Cook, AVAR on the same game, have been replaced for the Nottingham Forest v Brentford and Fulham v Chelsea matches today and tomorrow night respectively.”
Despite the disallowed goal, Son Heung-min put Spurs in front, and although Cody Gakpo leveled, Tottenham secured a 2-1 win thanks to a stoppage-time own goal from Joel Matip. PGMOL has pledged to conduct a comprehensive review to understand the circumstances that led to the error. Liverpool, in the meantime, is exploring options for escalation and resolution.
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