Video referees’ errors raise controversy in the English Premier League
Between ignorance of the implementation of techniques and the law, and suspicion of bias in decisions that would change the course of matches and results in favor of one team over another, the crisis of referee errors has become a threat to the English Premier League, after only 7 rounds have passed since its launch.
The disallowed goal scored by Colombian Liverpool striker Diaz against Tottenham, half an hour after Sunday’s match, when the result was a scoreless draw, opened widespread controversy, after television replays and arbitration analysis experts proved its authenticity, and the crisis was increased by the fact that the team came out losing by a goal from… Friendly fire (1-2) in the last seconds of stoppage time of the match.
The mistake was not the first by the referees managing the video room; Rather, it is the title of incidents that have been repeated since the start of the new season.
The England Referees Committee acknowledged the error of referees Darren England and Dan Cook (from the video room) in canceling a valid goal for Liverpool, and decided to exclude them from monitoring any future matches until the matter is investigated.
Liverpool thought they had taken the lead when Luis Diaz received a pass from Egyptian Mohamed Salah, and shot into the far corner. But the referee canceled it for offside, according to the data he received from the video room.
The Referees Association issued a statement blaming “major human error” for canceling Diaz’s goal, and stressed: “This was a real and clear error.” The goal should have been awarded due to the intervention of the video assistant referee.”
She followed that with another statement, in which she said: “It was decided to exclude Darren England and Dan Cook (the video referee and his assistant) and to appoint Craig Pawson and Eddie Smart to monitor the upcoming matches, and the investigation is open.”
Liverpool played with nine players after Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota were sent off, before an own goal scored by Joel Matip in stoppage time sealed the victory for Tottenham, which made German coach Jurgen Klopp explode in anger.
Klopp expressed his anger at the cancellation of Diaz’s goal in the first half, and the shocking decisions to expel two of his players, and said: “Diaz’s goal was not offside. It’s not offside when you see it. The referees drew the lines incorrectly when the ball was at Mohamed Salah’s feet. They did not correctly estimate the timing of the ball leaving Salah’s foot.” He added: “In the first expulsion, Curtis had the ball with him and lost it, and he did not deserve a red card because it was not a bad intervention. It looks different in slow replay. He runs after the ball at full speed. This is unfortunate. Likewise, the first warning (for Jota) was not deserved and then he received the second. We will have to defend with eight players and score an own goal. This is a really difficult thing to accept.”
Despite the defeat, Klopp said that he was proud of his team’s strong performance, which almost won a point in exceptional circumstances against a brilliant Tottenham team that used to snatch victories at home late.
Klopp, whose team last suffered defeat against Tottenham in 2017, and lost to them once in the last 21 league matches, added: “You want to build something, you need players with the mentality and I saw them tonight, they fought; But the referee’s decisions were against us.”
Dutchman Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool captain, said: “The video assistant referee technology must be completely clear in all the decisions it makes. I think on live TV there were no lines shown to viewers to show offside. “It’s all a little strange.” He added: “Look at the fight we showed, the defense we presented, and the teamwork as well. It was good to see that. The coach told us in the locker room. For me as a leader, it’s good to see everyone working hard and fighting for each other. Conceiving an own goal in the last two minutes of the match is really cruel.”
For his part, Australian coach Ange Postecoglou, Tottenham’s coach, said that he is not a supporter of the video assistant referee. The system complicates matters instead of facilitating them, even though its team benefits from the referees’ mistake.
Postecoglou said: “I have always said that I am not a supporter of (VAR) at all since the beginning of its use. Only because I think it complicates aspects of the game. I used to think it was pretty obvious; But at the same time I see why the intervention of technology is inevitable. “We have to deal with that.”
He added: “The game is full of historic refereeing decisions that were not correct. But we all accept that it is part of the game; Because we are dealing with human beings… I think people mistakenly think that VAR will be without mistakes. I don’t think there is any technology that can settle the debate; Because a lot of our game is not based on facts. “It is open to interpretation, and they are human.”
He continued: “When you raise expectations about something, it will inevitably fail, so if people think it is something that will be perfect at some point, it will not happen.”
Since the first round, the head of the referees’ committee, Howard Webb, found himself forced to go out on television programs to defend his men or admit to the mistakes that occurred unintentionally. During the first round, controversy arose over the referee not awarding a penalty kick to Wolverhampton against Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana for his reckless intervention, and the referees’ committee subsequently apologized to Wolverhampton in acknowledgment of the video technology monitor’s error.
In the second round, the controversy was greater in the match between Manchester United and Tottenham, after the referee and the video room ignored the award of a penalty kick for United when the ball touched the hand of Tottenham defender Christian Romero, even though it prevented a promising attack by the opponent. The committee then decided to suspend referee Michael Oliver from the third round, which was Its events are more exciting.
In the match between Arsenal and its guest, Manchester United, the latter thought it had a 2-1 lead in the 88th minute after Argentine Alejandro Garnacho scored a goal after starting from the middle of the field. But the referee canceled the goal due to offside, after returning to video technology and setting controversial lines. Events took a turn with the addition of 10 minutes of stoppage time, in which the home team scored two goals in two minutes. United’s Dutch coach Eric Ten Hag expressed his frustration over the controversial refereeing decisions that caused his team to lose dramatically.
Then it was the turn of Sheffield United coach Paul Heckingbottom, who harshly criticized the referees after his team conceded two goals in stoppage time, losing to Tottenham 1-2 after remaining ahead for 98 minutes. The referee awarded an additional 11 minutes, during which Tottenham scored two goals in the eighth and tenth minutes, which provoked Heckingbottom, who said: “Something must be done.” It’s not me who’s moaning. I said this at the end of the first half, when we were also ahead by a goal… The focus is on wasting time, and therefore the referees are the ones who dictate how we play. He added: “The refereeing was terrible, and it is not about football decisions, but about managing the match… I fear that all the focus will be on warnings due to wasting time, and when I spoke to the referees they had no idea what I was talking about. They run the game; “But they simply don’t know the game.”
In the fourth round, the Chairman of the Referees Committee, Howard Webb, appeared again, to admit that the goal scored by Manchester City player, Nathan Ake, against Fulham, should have been canceled due to Manuel Akanji’s offside, which clearly interfered in the game.
Fulham’s coach, Marco Silva, came out very angry after Ake’s goal was awarded, even though his team lost 1-4 in the end, and said: “Anyone who has played football, and has some knowledge of football, knows 100 percent that this should be cancelled.” the goal. For the linesman, it can be difficult to see offside; But as for video technology, it is impossible not to see this intrusion. That moment had a huge impact on the course of the match.”
“That goal should have been cancelled,” Webb said. It is not always easy to reach this decision; Because you are trying to bring two pieces of information together at the same time. Was the player in an offside position? Although the referee was in a good position to see him, what are the consequences of the player being in this position? How does this affect competitors? Unfortunately, this was not well defined at that moment, and what happened in this objective will be explained to everyone in our group; Because we look to do better every week.”
With the succession of errors, the most recent of which was Nunez’s disallowed goal in the match between Liverpool and Tottenham, criticism of the referees intensified, with the question being raised: Is what is happening the result of poor efficiency, or suspicion of the tendencies of one team over another? This is the most serious accusation that could shake the entire game in a country famous for its strong championship. And its fame around the world!
Some – including senior coaches – accuse referees of being people who have never played football, and demanded that the matter be reformed. Some have suggested adding a former player to the VAR room, claiming that he understands the spirit of the game and is able to offer advice; But this proposal was met with ridicule; Because many of these former players do not know the laws of football well.
Taking into account the pressure that has become constant on referees, the ongoing changes in football laws, especially the strange law regarding handballs inside the penalty area, and technical managers who seek to divert attention and attention from the performance of their teams by directing constant criticism of referees, it is certain that the controversy will Its severity increases during the next stages.