Tuesday, December 5, 2023
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VAR officials replaced for Sunday games over Liverpool “horror”

Darren England has been replaced as the fourth official for Sunday’s Premier League game between Nottingham Forest and Brentford after his error as the video assistant referee during Liverpool’s defeat at Tottenham.

England failed to overturn an incorrect decision on the pitch to disallow a Luis Diaz goal for offside as the Reds were beaten 2-1 on Saturday.

Dan Cook was assistant VAR for the game and he has been replaced as assistant referee for the game between Fulham and Chelsea on Monday.

“Craig Pawson will now assume England’s duties as fourth official at the City Ground while Eddie Smart will take over from Cook as assistant referee at Craven Cottage,” said referees’ body PGMOL.

Cook, England and Michael Oliver, who was the fourth official at Spurs, were also part of a match officiating team in charge of a league game in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

The Football Association had approved the trip and the trio arrived back in London on Friday to prepare for Saturday’s game.

At 0-0 and with Liverpool down to 10 men, winger Diaz’s goal was disallowed on the field, with England upholding the decision after a quick VAR check, in which the customary offside line graphic was not shown.

BBC Sport understands the correct procedure was followed for the controversial decision but the mistake was down to human error.

The lines were drawn in accordance with normal procedure and every other aspect was checked.

However, what is being described by sources as a lapse of concentration led to a loss of focus around the initial on-field decision and then a ‘check complete’ being confirmed rather than an intervention which would have resulted in the goal being awarded.

It is understood referees’ chief Howard Webb has spoken to Liverpool about the incident.

A PGMOL statement after the game said “a significant human error occurred”.

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