A Closer Look at Darren England’s Overseas Assignment
In a recent turn of events, Premier League referee Darren England finds himself in the spotlight, not for his officiating in England but due to his assignment in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The official, along with assistant Dan Cook, was at the centre of a significant error during a match between Tottenham and Liverpool, a mistake that has raised eyebrows about their recent overseas assignment.
The Controversial Decision
Darren England and Dan Cook were responsible for a pivotal mistake that led to the disallowance of Luis Diaz’s legitimate goal, citing an incorrect offside. This error led to their removal from VAR duties for the remainder of the weekend, a move that came after PGMOL publicly acknowledged and apologised for the mishap.
The UAE Assignment
Further scrutiny has been placed on England as details emerged about his role in overseeing VAR for a match between Sharjah and Al Ain in the UAE Pro League, merely 48 hours prior to the Tottenham-Liverpool game. Cook accompanied him as the assistant referee. PGMOL chief Howard Webb approved their visit, following a request from UAE Pro League officials to the FA.
The Impact of Workload and Integrity
The revelation has sparked debates regarding the workload of the officials and whether the fatigue from the overseas trip contributed to their mishandling of the Diaz incident. The duo returned to London on Friday after a three-day stay in the Gulf state. There are also concerns about the integrity of the officials, with some pointing out a potential conflict of interest, given the UAE’s ownership of Manchester City, a Premier League club.
Trust in Officials and VAR
Regardless of the discussions surrounding the integrity and workload of the officials, their actions have certainly not contributed to building trust in officials or alleviating the ongoing controversies surrounding VAR. The incident has left many pondering the overall impact on the perception of officiating in the Premier League and beyond.