June 23, 2024

The audio recordings of discussions between the match officials around Luis Diaz’s disallowed goal against Tottenham have been made public.

Liverpool asked referees’ body PGMOL for the audio after the controversy in the first half of their 2-1 defeat.

Video assistant referee Darren England did not overrule when Liverpool’s Diaz was wrongly flagged offside.

In the audio, England says the check is “perfect” before swearing when he realises a mistake has been made.

After releasing the audio on Tuesday, PGMOL said the error was a result of a “lapse of concentration and loss of focus”.

The Premier League added that the incident in Saturday’s game, and the subsequent review of what led to the incorrect decision, highlighted “systemic weaknesses in the VAR process”.

What the officials said as they analysed the incident
The match between two of the Premier League’s leading teams was goalless – with Liverpool down to 10 men after Curtis Jones’ red card for a tackle on Yves Bissouma – when Diaz thought he had put the visitors ahead after 34 minutes.

But the flag was immediately raised for a possible offside against the Colombian before he ran to a collect a pass from Reds team-mate Mohamed Salah.

VAR: Possible offside Diaz

Assistant referee 1: Coming back for the offside mate

VAR: Just checking the offside. Delay, delay

The VAR team – England, his assistant Dan Cook and the replay operator – begin to evaluate the replays, starting with Diaz collecting the ball and the moment which it is released by Salah.

VAR: Give the kick point, let’s go. Kick point please

Referee: Yeah no worries mate

Replay operator: So here we are

Referee: Wait, OK

Replay operator: Just get a tight angle

Still image of Mohamed Salah passing the ball to Luis Diaz
VAR: Yeah give me a 2D line ready after this one for frame two after that

Replay operator: So frame two there?

VAR: That’s fine. Perfect yeah. 2D line on left boot

Replay operator: Let me just switch angles

VAR: Romero I think it is?

Replay operator: I think it might be this angle better? Happy with this angle?

VAR: Yep

Replay operator: 2D line on the boot. Yep ok.

VAR: And stop.

At this point, England tells on-field referee Simon Hooper the check is complete – which means he indicated the offside call was correct and the match could be restarted with a Spurs free-kick.
VAR: Check complete, check complete. That’s fine, perfect (showing Diaz is clearly onside). Off.

Referee: Cheers mate

VAR: Thank you mate

Referee. Well done boys. Good process.

Hooper restarts the game after indicating to the players that Diaz was ruled offside by the VAR.

The realisation that this was a mistake dawns on the VAR team.

The replay operator alerts England that Diaz was flagged offside, meaning that the check was to see if he was onside, and assistant VAR Cook confirms they have made the wrong decision.

Replay operator: Wait, wait, wait, wait. The on-field decision was offside. Are you happy with this?

Assistant VAR: Yeah

Replay operator: Are you happy with this?

Assistant VAR: Offside goal yeah. That’s wrong Daz.

VAR: What?

Replay operator: On-field decision was offside. Are you happy with this image? Yeah it’s onside. The image that we gave them is onside.

Assistant VAR: He’s played him. He’s gone offside.

VAR: Oh [expletive]

As England realises an error has been made, Liverpool are on the attack through left-back Andy Robertson and Diaz.

Spurs defender Cristian Romero slides in before the ball reaches Salah, clearing the ball into touch and play stops before the Liverpool throw-in.

At this point Oli Kohout – the VAR Hub operations manager, who was in a different room to the VAR team – communicates the game should be delayed in a bid to rectify the decision.

Replay operative: Delay delay. Oli [PGMOL Hub Ops] saying to delay. Oli’s saying to delay.

VAR: Pardon.

Replay operator: Oli’s calling in to say delay the game. The decision is onside

VAR: Can’t do anything

Replay operator: Oli’s saying to delay. Oli’s saying to delay

VAR: Oli?

Fourth official: Yeah

Replay operative: Delay the game, to delay the game? Stop the game.

VAR: They’ve restarted the game. Can’t do anything, can’t do anything.

Assistant VAR: Yeah, they’ve restarted. Yeah

VAR: Can’t do anything.

Assistant VAR: No

VAR: I can’t do anything. I can’t do anything.

VAR: [expletive]

The game continued with the Liverpool throw-in and, two minutes later, Son Heung-min slid Spurs in front.

Liverpool responded with an equaliser in first-half stoppage time through Cody Gakpo but the visitors, who went down to nine men following Diogo Jota’s red card, lost when Joel Matip sliced into his own net in injury-time. (BBC Sports)

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