VAR Darren England is slammed for his 'critical concentration lapse'

EXCLUSIVE: VAR Darren England is slammed for his ‘critical concentration lapse’ by refereeing bosses, who say he ‘inexplicably prioritised efficiency over accuracy’ in damning full review of Liverpool’s farcical disallowed goal

  • Luis Diaz’s first half strike was ruled out erroneously for offside against Spurs 
  • The audio recording of the VAR mishap was later released on Tuesday evening 
  • Click HERE to listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ 

The PGMOL’s review into Luis Diaz’s disallowed goal is damning in its evaluation of VAR Darren England, stating that he rushed a routine situation by prioritising ‘efficiency’ over ‘accuracy’ before ‘inexplicably’ robbing Liverpool of their opener at Tottenham.

England bears the brunt of the blame in the ‘VAR incident review’ document – while his assistant Dan Cook is also criticised for their lack of basic communication – which was sent to the Premier League by the PGMOL but not disclosed to the public.

Despite fans furiously suggesting ‘corruption’ was involved, the recording dispelled that idea and instead proved that it was, as the PGMOL have admitted, ‘a significant human error’.

They say in the review seen by Mail Sport that the error came from ‘a critical lapse in concentration and clear lack of focus… by an individual match official which saw him inexplicably “check completing” an incorrect on-field decision.’

The report details five ‘key learnings’ from England and Cook’s performance at Stockley Park in the 2-1 defeat for Liverpool, stating:

Luis Diaz had a first half opener against Tottenham erroneously ruled out for offside on Saturday

Darren England bears the brunt of the blame in the PGMOL review of the incident 

Lines drawn by the VAR operators showed that Luis Diaz was being played onside by a Tottenham defender

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1) The situation stemmed from the video officials not following proper guidance which states how there is ‘an emphasis on the need for efficiency, but never at the expense of accuracy’. The review states: ‘There was no need for the VAR to rush through this routine sequence.’

2) Referees will be told to ‘verbalise very clearly what the on-field decision is on every occasion’. For example, Simon Hooper, the referee, should have made clear that ‘the on-field decision is disallowed goal for offside’ to England and Cook.

3) VARs will be reminded to reiterate the original on-field decision at the beginning of checks.

4) VARs will be told to converse better with their assistants as, had England communicated with Cook, this ‘would have exposed the flaws in the direction he was about to take, and therefore provided an opportunity for the AVAR to intervene’.

5) VARs will check the final decision with their assistants before confirming the outcome to the referee, saying ‘confirming disallowed goal for offside, check complete’ rather than simply ‘check complete’.

The review was sent to the Premier League and distributed to Liverpool and the other 19 clubs before the PGMOL published the audio of the conversation between Hooper, England and Cook. That recording revealed how the video officials froze under pressure and descended into a four-letter panic as they realised Diaz’s goal should have stood, which would have given Liverpool a 1-0 lead.

After England said ‘check complete’ to Hooper, Tottenham restarted the game with their free-kick. Once this happened, the laws of the game state that the VAR cannot intervene to correct the call and award Liverpool their opener, hence why England could be heard saying ‘I can’t do anything, I can’t do anything, f***’ on the audio.

Audio was released for the VAR check confirming that the decision was in fact onside, rather that the offside call announced at the game

An apparent communication breakdown saw the VAR unaware that the on-field call was offside

On realising that they would be unable to stop the game and go back to the correct decision, England could be heard saying ‘Oh f***’


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