VAR in Premier League Football
In the wake of Luis Diaz’s disallowed goal last Saturday, the discourse surrounding the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has plunged into a maelstrom of controversy and critique, with notable figures like Jamie Carragher voicing their dismay.
The Unsettling Silence of VAR
The match between Liverpool and Tottenham, which saw the former beaten 2-1, was marred by a contentious decision where Diaz was erroneously flagged for offside, and VAR did not intervene. The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), responsible for overseeing referees, attributed this to “a significant human error”. Carragher, a former Liverpool defender, expressed, “I do feel as if this is almost like a crisis point for VAR in this country.”
The Ripple Effect of a Single Decision
This incident is not isolated but rather a part of a series of contentious VAR decisions this season, such as during the match between Wolves and Manchester United. Carragher empathised with the officials, acknowledging the human capacity for error, but labelled the mistake as “horrendous” and found the provided explanations hard to believe.
Liverpool’s Pursuit of Transparency and Fair Play
Liverpool has been vocal in their criticism of PGMOL’s handling of the incident, deeming their explanation “unacceptable” and asserting that “sporting integrity has been undermined”. The club has formally requested access to the audio recordings between match officials to comprehend the communication breakdown that occurred during the match.
The Broader Implications for the Football Community
Former Newcastle and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given described the fallout from the upheld VAR decision as “one big mess”. The incident has sparked debates about the efficacy and reliability of VAR, with some suggesting that former players should be involved in VAR decisions to bring their on-field experience into the decision-making process. Chris Sutton, while agreeing with Carragher, pondered on the future implications of this incident, questioning, “What’s the endgame?”