The phrase “offside, goal, yeah” courtesy of the eloquent VAR assistant, Dan Cook, will likely live on in infamy for Liverpool fans. The PGMOL released the audio recording of the absolute clown show in the VAR room that culminated in a legitimate goal being chopped off of Liverpool’s goal tally. The overwhelming reaction of those who listened to it was disbelief at how chaotic those few crucial moments were. It sounded like listening to a podcast when everyone is trying to talk at once. Not the most efficient way to decide these big moments.
Unsurprisingly, following the release, the PGMOL also announced that there would be changes to the way communication between the VAR team and the on-field referees going forward.
The statement, in part, read:
“The review of the on-field and VAR decision-making processes and application of the decision-making principles has identified the following key learnings to mitigate against the risk of a future error:
- Guidance to Video Match Officials has always emphasised the need for efficiency, but never at the expense of accuracy. This principle will be clearly reiterated
- A new VAR Communication Protocol will be developed to enhance the clarity of communication between the referee and the VAR team in relation to on-field decisions
- As an additional step to the process, the VAR will confirm the outcome of the VAR check process with the AVAR before confirming the final decision to the on-field officials.”
Considering the AVAR in question was Mr. ‘Offside, goal, yeah’ himself, I don’t think that would have fixed what went wrong against Spurs. However, we can all agree that taking an extra five to 10 seconds to confirm their findings would be helpful. If the PGMOL have a suggestion box, I will write in suggesting that another requirement be for the VAR to state plainly, “The goal stands” or “the goal is disallowed” in order to cut out the confusion of a handful of people all talking in the on-field referee’s ear.