The VAR Controversy: A Glimpse Beyond the Screen
Diaz’s Disallowed Goal Sparks Debate
It was a decision that sent shockwaves across football followers. When Liverpool faced Tottenham, a controversial call saw Luis Diaz’s own goal in the first half disallowed. The maelstrom of reactions was instant and vehement. Fans of the Reds were left scratching their heads as to why, in an era where technology was touted as the solution, such a clear and legitimate goal was erroneously negated.
Neville’s Insight from the Commentary Box
Neville, in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports, has always been astute in his observations, and this incident was no exception. Post-match, he brought light to an intriguing perspective unseen by the television audience.
I’m pretty sure if you look at the refs face they were thinking of taking the game back and say it was a goal. There is a moment where the ref looks sick! On the gantry ( you can’t see this at home ) the VAR screen was locked on the offside decision whilst the game went on. They…
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) September 30, 2023
He shared on X, which previously went by the name Twitter: “Looking at the referee’s expression, there was an indication they might revert the decision to a goal. The VAR screen on the gantry, which wasn’t visible to viewers at home, remained fixated on the offside verdict even as the match progressed. The realisation of the error was almost immediate, yet there was no rectification.”
PGMOL Admits the Blunder
In an era of debates and divided opinions, the refereeing body, PGMOL, showed character by promptly admitting their blunder. Their statement was direct: “The goal by Luis Diaz was incorrectly disallowed for offside by the on-field team. This was undeniably an error, and the goal should have been validated.”
It later came to light that VAR official Darren England had mistakenly believed that the on-field decision was in favour of the goal. Hence, he inadvertently endorsed referee Simon Hooper’s offside call.
A Pundit’s Perspective
Neville’s proximity to the action and his expertise granted him a unique vantage point. Speaking about his initial reaction, he explained, “We, in the commentary box, are privy to the VAR visuals before most. My initial impression was, ‘That’s onside.’ Suddenly, there’s an advisory in the ear, signaling a check. The visuals and the communications between VAR officials and the referee are available to us. The confirmation of ‘Check complete’ came swiftly, raising eyebrows. Reviewing the footage during half-time, it was evident that the decision had been rushed, leading to the oversight.”
He passionately added, “Such lapses are monumental. Recent instances have made me question if we have the appropriate camera technology in place at these venues. The angles and lines just don’t seem to align anymore.”
The Impact on Liverpool’s Campaign
This error isn’t just a talking point; it carries weight in the Premier League standings. Liverpool now sits in the fourth spot, and the implications of this decision on their campaign remains to be assessed.
It’s moments like these that rekindle the evergreen debate on VAR’s role and reliability in the beautiful game.