A Closer Listen: PGMOL Audio and the Diaz Offside Debate
In a recent clash that saw Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool lock horns, an incident involving Luis Diaz’s disallowed goal has stirred the pot in the football community, casting a spotlight on the PGMOL and their VAR protocols. The PGMOL, the body overseeing referees, has unveiled the full VAR hub audio, offering an intriguing insight into the controversial decision that unfolded on the pitch.
The Echoes from the VAR Hub
The audio, a critical piece in understanding the unfolding of events, reveals the conversation that led to the decision against Luis Diaz not being overturned, despite the clear evidence of him being onside. The PGMOL, in a transparent move, has not only released this audio but also provided a comprehensive breakdown of the incident, acknowledging the significant human error that transpired during the match.
Navigating Through the Offside Controversy
The goal, initially disallowed for offside by on-field officials, underwent the standard checking phase by the VAR team. The kick-point selection and the use of a single 2D line on the foot of the second rear-most defender were executed accurately. However, a momentary lapse in concentration and focus saw the VAR incorrectly communicate “check complete”, inadvertently affirming the on-field decision without any dialogue with the Assistant VAR (AVAR).
The Aftermath and Ensuing Dialogue
Post the restart of the match, the Replay Operator and AVAR, upon querying the check-complete outcome, pointed out the original on-field decision of offside. However, this was never communicated to the on-field team during the match. The VAR team, upon reflection, considered halting the game but concluded that the VAR protocol within the Laws of the Game would not permit it since play had already resumed.
PGMOL’s Response and Forward Steps
In a statement, the PGMOL confirmed that a review into the circumstances leading to the incorrect disallowing of Luis Diaz’s goal has been conducted. Recognising that standards fell short of expectations, they acknowledged the error to Liverpool post-match and submitted a detailed report, inclusive of key learnings and immediate actions taken, to the Premier League.
Key Learnings and Future Mitigations:
- Emphasis on Accuracy: While efficiency is pivotal, it should not compromise accuracy. This principle will be distinctly reiterated to Video Match Officials.
- Enhanced Communication Protocol: Development of a new VAR Communication Protocol to bolster the clarity of communication between the referee and the VAR team concerning on-field decisions.
- Additional Verification Step: The VAR will confirm the outcome of the VAR check process with the AVAR before finalising the decision to the on-field officials.
Commitment to Elevating VAR Performance
PGMOL has expressed its dedication to enhancing VAR performance through a new training programme initiated this season. Focusing on process and best practice for all VARs, AVARs, and Replay Operators in their specific roles, the body is also working to establish a dedicated pool of VAR specialists. Furthermore, the VAR and AVAR involved in the incident were removed from their remaining fixtures in Match Round 7 and were not included in the appointments for Match Round 8.
In collaboration with The FA, PGMOL has also agreed to review the policy to allow match officials to officiate matches outside of FIFA or UEFA appointments, ensuring that the learnings from the Diaz offside controversy are implemented to mitigate the risk of future errors and uphold the integrity of the game.
Conclusion: A Step Towards Transparency and Improvement
The release of the PGMOL audio and the subsequent actions taken reflect a step towards transparency and a commitment to continual improvement in the realm of football refereeing. While the incident involving Diaz’s offside has stirred controversy, it has also paved the way for critical discussions and reviews of VAR protocols, ensuring that the beautiful game remains fair, just, and enjoyable for all.