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Sorry, Jurgen: Liverpool won’t get replay over Diaz VAR row

Sorry, Jurgen: Liverpool won’t get replay over Diaz VAR row
  • PublishedOctober 4, 2023

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he wants his side’s Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur to be replayed after a Luis Díaz goal was incorrectly ruled out for offside in one of the worst errors in the history of VAR.

The score was 0-0 in the 34th minute when the incident happened, and Liverpool went on to lose 2-1 to an injury-time Joël Matip own goal.

– The VAR Review: What went wrong for Luis Diaz’s offside goal
– VAR’s wildest moments: Diaz offside, Alisson’s two red cards

But does Klopp have any grounds for the match to be replayed? And is it even possible? We look at what’s happened.

What happened?

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the governing body for referees, has admitted “standards fell short of expectations” for the Díaz goal.

The VAR during the game, Darren England, incorrectly thought the on-field decision was “goal.” While he quickly identified that Díaz was onside, he told the referee “check complete” — which mistakenly told the on-field team that the offside flag was correct.

The game restarted with the score still 0-0.

PGMOL subsequently released the full audio of the VAR conversation.

What has Klopp said?

On Wednesday, he told a news conference: “Not as a manager of Liverpool so much, more as a football person, I think the only outcome should be a replay. Probably will not happen. The argument against that will probably be that if we open that gate then everyone will ask for it.

“I think the situation is that unprecedented that … something like that, as far as I can remember, never happened. That’s why a replay would be the right thing.”

Have Liverpool actually asked for a replay?

No yet, as Klopp says the club are still “going through the information we have.”

On Sunday night, Liverpool issued a strongly worded statement which said the error “undermined sporting integrity.”

Is a replay even possible?

Yes. As you can imagine, such a possibility has to be covered within the Premier League rule book.

Rule L.18. states: “The Board shall have power to order that a League Match be replayed provided that a recommendation to that effect has been made by a Commission in exercise of its powers under Rule W.51.”

What would be the next steps?

Liverpool would have to lodge a complaint with the Premier League. A Commission would then be set up (as per Rule W.51) to assess the merits of the case and reach a decision.

Within the remit of the Commission is to “recommend that the Board orders that a League Match or such other match … be replayed.”

Has a match ever been replayed?

Not in English league football. Cup games have been replayed due to a number of factors, including a team making too many substitutes or fielding an ineligible player.

Famously in 1999, an FA Cup game between Arsenal and Sheffield United was replayed after the Gunners scored from a throw-in after the opposition had knocked the ball out for an Arsenal player to receive treatment. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger later made the offer to replay the match.

So what if Tottenham themselves offer a replay?

That might help things along, but the Premier League would still need to agree amid the danger of a precedent being set.

Do Liverpool have grounds for a replay?

This is where it starts to fall down.

VAR protocol, which is part of the Laws of the Game, states: “In principle, a match is not invalidated because of: wrong decision(s) involving the VAR (as the VAR is a match official).”

So Liverpool have no chance?

This is where we need to revisit Liverpool’s statement, where they very specifically said: “It is clear that the correct application of the laws of the game did not occur.”

While a wrong decision might not be grounds for a game to be played again, failing to apply the Laws of the Game correctly can be seen as a valid reason.

However, this is usually a more technical reason, such as a team being allowed to score a goal through an incorrect application of encroachment on a missed penalty.

play

1:27

Laurens: Díaz offside the biggest VAR blunder of the season

Julien Laurens thinks Luis Díaz’s disallowed goal in Tottenham vs. Liverpool is the biggest VAR mistake in the Premier League so far this season.

What will Liverpool argue?

It is likely they will say that the “wrong” decision was not made by the match officials. The VAR knew Diaz was onside, and was supposed to be telling the referee the forward was onside. Therefore, this is a mistake in applying the decision rather than simply getting it wrong.

Is there any VAR precedent?

The closest is probably the goal France had disallowed against Tunisia at the World Cup last year.

Antoine Griezmann thought he had equalised deep into stoppage time, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. However, the referee had restarted the game, and then blown for full-time before the review happened — which broke VAR protocol. It should not have been possible to disallow the goal.

France protested and wanted the goal to be reinstated, but the appeal was dismissed by FIFA’s disciplinary committee and the result stood.

What about similar incidents?

Why didn’t Arsenal get a replay when the VAR failed to disallow Brentford‘s goal for offside last season? The VAR didn’t notice there was a player offside, so it was an error.

What about the goal Sheffield United were not awarded in the 0-0 draw with Aston Villa when goal-line technology failed? The VAR didn’t check for a tech failure, so didn’t know it happened.

And how about Brighton’s disallowed goal at Crystal Palace when the VAR drew the lines on the wrong player? The VAR decision was offside and communicated as offside. For Liverpool, the VAR decision was onside and communicated as offside, and that’s the difference they will point to.

Do Liverpool have any chance of success?

It’s highly unlikely. Even though it was a unique circumstance, it would set a dangerous precedent.

If they did, could Wolves then ask to replay their game at Manchester United after they were wrongly denied an injury-time penalty through a bad VAR decision?

If Liverpool do make an official request it is unlikely to go down well with other clubs, who have all suffered their own injustices, none more so than Brighton who were subjected to a catalogue of errors last season which may have impacted their chances of making the Champions League this season.

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