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Howard Webb disappointed by VAR failure to correct ‘clear error’ on offside goal

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Howard Webb disappointed by VAR failure to correct ‘clear error' on offside goal

Referees’ chief Howard Webb expressed his disappointment that VAR was unable to “rectify a clear error” following Luis Diaz’s disallowed goal for Liverpool against Tottenham.

Miscommunication between video assistant referee Darren England and referee Simon Hooper led to the winger’s goal being wrongly ruled out for offside in a 2-1 Premier League defeat for the Reds on September 30.

Audio of the incident was released in the aftermath and, speaking on an episode of ‘Match Officials Mic’d Up’ on Sky Sports on Tuesday, Professional Game Match Officials Limited technical director Webb admitted the situation was frustrating.

Of course we’re all disappointed the VAR system didn’t step in and rectify a clear error

“We took the unusual step of releasing the audio from this situation not long after it happened,” he said.

“We wanted to show everybody what was very quickly pretty apparent to us, a human error and loss of concentration.

“Of course we’re all disappointed the VAR system didn’t step in and rectify a clear error that we’d seen on the field with the disallowing of the goal.

“Nobody’s more disappointed than the officials themselves, they take pride in their work and want to be a positive influence on the game, but of course in this situation it wasn’t the case.”

Referees’ body PGMOL confirmed that new VAR communication guidelines would be applied.

“One of the things we have to do is put things in place so that, should we have human error, it doesn’t have the damage or the impact that we saw on this occasion,” Webb added when asked about the language officials use.

“One of the things that this has brought into sharp focus is the need to reiterate some of those communication protocols that are really valuable in VAR to prevent this kind of thing happening.”

One of the talking points from the latest round of fixtures at the weekend was the decision not to send off Manchester City’s Mateo Kovacic for a challenge on Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard.

The City midfielder was shown a yellow card before avoiding another shortly afterwards and Webb admitted Kovacic was “fortunate” to stay on the pitch.

“I do (think he was),” he said.

“I mean obviously the VAR can’t get involved, second yellows are something that the VAR is not able to get involved in, but I think he was an extremely fortunate player to stay on the field of play.

“The referee – one of our best referees, one of the best referees in the world – Michael Oliver, will no doubt review that.”

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