Howard Webb breaks silence on Tottenham vs Liverpool VAR mistake controversy and says ‘steps taken’ to solve problems

PGMOL chief Howard Webb insists VAR Darren England was correct in his decision not to stop play after realising his huge mistake during Tottenham vs Liverpool last month.

Webb says Darren England was right not to stop play after the error (Picture: Sky Sports/Getty)

With Luis Diaz’s first-half goal disallowed for offside despite replays clearly demonstrating Cristian Romero was keeping him on, Spurs defeated Liverpool 2-1.

A’significant human error’ was made in disallowing the goal shortly after full-time, the PGMOL [Professional Game Match Officials Limited] acknowledged.

Later, the refereeing organization released audio of the decision being made, which showed the commotion that broke out in the VAR room and the panic that ensued when it was realized that a significant error had been made.

The on-field referee Simon Hooper and his assistants understood England’s ‘check complete’, the VAR official’s audible statement that the offside call was accurate, to mean that the play was in fact offside.

Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool, has requested a replay of the game and claims it ought to have been stopped immediately the error was realized so that “solutions” could be discussed. Despite the misunderstanding among officials, head of referees Webb claimed that such behavior was not permitted by the rules of the game.

Michael Owen questioned Webb on whether the game should have been stopped to try to fix the error. Webb responded, “I understand why people would ask that question.


Diaz’s first half effort should have stood

Actually, after realizing what had transpired, I believe it took the VAR and AVAR 20 seconds to ask themselves that question.

They debated stopping the game at that point, but they realized that would be against the rules of the game, which were established by FIFA and the IFAB.

In order to ensure that VAR is used consistently throughout all leagues worldwide, there is undoubtedly a protocol in place that is outlined in the regulations of the game. And it prevents you from returning under certain circumstances. Due of this, they chose not to get involved.

Webb continued by acknowledging that England’s explanation was not entirely clear, which contributed to the mistaken judgment being confirmed. He said that actions are already being taken to ensure that this mistake is not made again.

In order to prevent this kind of incident from happening, Webb stated that one of the things that this has brought into stark view is the need to restate some of the communication norms that are particularly helpful in VAR.

‘We’ve put quite a few steps in place to ensure the error that we observed in that key game doesn’t happen again,’ he continued.

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