“I trust VAR. I trust the car, but I don’t trust the driver.”
“That was a mistake. Accept it.”
“I would be surprised if they went that route. It was a big mistake, but it was human beings who made it.”
The hot topic in the Premier League this week is of course last Saturday’s VAR error involving Liverpool’s Luis Diaz and the wrongful disallowance of a first-half goal away to Tottenham Hotspur.
Since then, there have been reports that Darren England, the VAR referee who was responsible for Tottenham’s final 2-1 victory over Liverpool, will not officiate any of Liverpool’s games for the rest of the season.
Discussions have been wide-ranging and varied, ranging from calls for VAR to be scrapped entirely, to calls for greater reflection, to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp suggesting the game be replayed.
The error was so serious that it led to the Professional Match Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the organization responsible for referees and their assistants in England, ordering the removal of those responsible and the unprecedented release of audio from the VAR team regarding Diaz’s goal being disallowed. You can read the full transcript here.
PGMOL, along with the Premier League, has also committed to regularly releasing match audio from on-field officials and VAR teams this season.
So, with everyone else having their say on the matter, Competitor Ask Premier League managers what they think and whether this could set a worrying precedent where a senior official could be removed from a match involving a certain team.
An unnamed manager believes the immediate decision to remove Simon Hooper from the squad for a week was prompted by his failure to award Wolves a penalty on the opening weekend of the season away at Manchester United in August. There is a lot of uncertainty among the officiating staff, some of whom are inexperienced.
He wondered if others on the refereeing staff were suddenly nervous because they knew that if they made a mistake, they would be eliminated next time. In his view, from the early stages of the season, match officials were under a lot of pressure to get things right or face the consequences.
Here are the remarks recorded by his colleagues…
“People make mistakes in life”
Brentford comment on England may not play another game against Liverpool in 2023-24 Thomas Frank Said: “I think it’s just for this season, (and) next season, he’ll be available. I don’t know.”
“I don’t know why exactly they do that – maybe to relieve stress so they’re not in the spotlight after seven days and just take a break and go again? People make mistakes in life and if you start with If you fall off your horse or bike, then you need to get back up and learn from it. Just take a breath and get going again, and that’s it.”
“I trust VAR. I trust the car, but not the driver.”
Mauricio Pochettino spoke candidly about referees and VAR, and reiterated his previous concerns about the use of technology in football refereeing.
“Those are two different things,” the Chelsea coach said. “I trust VAR. I trust the car, but not the driver. That’s the problem.
“Many years ago (when VAR was first introduced), I was very critical from the beginning. I think using technology to judge whether (the ball) is over the line, whether it is offside is a good decision; it is important to take the time. Then we can Discuss and debate whether referees need to be more involved and have the final say.”
On Diaz’s goal being disallowed, Pochettino added: “Of course it was a mistake, wasn’t it? We need to accept it. I don’t know if it was the right decision (to take England out of Liverpool’s squad) game). I couldn’t put myself in the shoes of Liverpool, VAR or the referee. Of course it was difficult. I listened to what happened, we all saw and heard it.
“As a precedent, I don’t know. I don’t know, if you were from Liverpool, could you accept this apology? There are so many things that if you weren’t involved in, you don’t know how you would react. Maybe if I was involved, I That would stop the game there. If I were Klopp, maybe, eh?”
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‘We need to provide support’
Asked if he could set a questionable example, the Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta Say, “I don’t know. This is something we have no say in and cannot manage.”
“I think they (PGMOL) are trying to make the best decisions, they are trying to protect the game, they are trying to get as much support as possible and be ruthless when needed. At some point we need to give support , we need to understand that mistakes happen; we (coaches and players) make mistakes too.
“If you don’t do that, I think the pressure will be very high and difficult to deal with.”
“I would be surprised if they went that route”
tottenham hotspur coach Angie Postkoglu Said he only became aware of the VAR controversy after the game against Liverpool, when reporters talked about it at his post-match press conference.
“I don’t know and I don’t know if that’s been decided yet,” the Australian said when asked whether England should referee Liverpool again this season. “I would be surprised if they went that route. It was a big mistake, but it was human beings who made it. I don’t think it’s anything that needs to be too far-reaching.
“When you hear this (the news), you might think there’s a better way to communicate a clear decision in such a big situation. I hope that’s what they’re going to address; it’s not the individual who made the mistake.
“I think it’s a dereliction of the game. It’s like I’m leaving a player aside just because he made a mistake. My role is to help players improve, not to say, ‘Now you can’t play again.'”
“We want consistency and VAR can play a role in that”
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom Diaz’s disallowed goal was compared to a goal-line technical incident between his club and Aston Villa in 2019-20 (see link below).
“In this case, and the Sheffield United game against Villa, those black and white moments were more of an operational thing,” Heckingbottom said. “I listened to the audio, and I’m sure you did too. Within seconds, everyone knew something was wrong, and when it’s black and white (like this), it means something is broken. Everyone watched Gotta come out.
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“From our point of view, we want consistency and VAR has a role to play in that. That’s how it’s implemented. Take Liverpool for example: it was a goal that took so long for those in power to realize It’s a goal. Is there something that can be done through intervention to correct the problem?”
“I hope we’re in a place where everyone can host everyone”
wolves head coach Gary O’Neal He mostly kept his opinions to himself when asked about the Diaz/VAR incident, but did say: “If there are only rumors (of England being knocked out of the tournament by Liverpool) then it’s probably best for me not to comment on it.
“This is the first time I’ve heard of it, so I don’t know much about it. I hope we’re in a place where everyone (in the PGMOL pool) can host everyone.
“But there are people who will be working on it for much longer than the 18 seconds I was just thinking about when you asked me! So I’m sure they’ll come up with a better solution than me.”
‘That was a mistake. accept’
manchester city manager Guardiola People are urged to move on and learn from the events of last weekend.
“I said it before the game against Leipzig[Manchester City’s midweek Champions League match]: it was a mistake. Accept it,” he said. “Humans make mistakes and VAR’s job is to reduce the mistakes humans make and we make mistakes too. Hopefully it ends here and gets better; the Premier League and the VAR people will work hard to improve it.
“The reason for implementing VAR is to make our game more correct and hopefully it will be better in the future.”
“Before VAR, we made more mistakes than we do now”
The Villa boss spoke about the use of VAR in football earlier this week Unai Emery Said he believes using technology to help match officials can make football better.
“Before we had VAR, we made more mistakes than we do now,” Emery said. “Now, I can accept small mistakes in VAR. And they are just small mistakes. Of course, for Liverpool (in this case) it was a big mistake – but before VAR, mistakes like this were more common. Come more and more.
“I listened to the conversation between the referees and they were worried about their mistakes but they couldn’t react because the game started again. Again I accept it. But before VAR, there were more (errors).
“No (I don’t want to replay the game). I have to accept it, just like we did before VAR.”
Liverpool VAR error news released – full transcript
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