PGMOL chief Howard Webb is contemplating a significant rule change in response to the VAR error that resulted in Liverpool having a goal disallowed against Tottenham on Saturday.
Luis Diaz had his goal ruled out for offside, as VAR upheld the initial on-field decision. However, following a PGMOL apology acknowledging a “significant human error” during the review process, reports emerged that VAR Darren England believed the goal had been awarded on the field, leading him to advise Simon Hooper to uphold the original decision.
This development triggered outrage, prompting Liverpool to issue a statement on Sunday evening stating their intention to explore various options for escalation and resolution in the matter.
Also on Sunday, it was revealed byThe Timesthat England and Dan Cook, the assistant referee who initially flagged the offside, had worked a match in the United Arab Emirates 48 hours earlier.
That revelation brought Webb, who reportedly sanctioned the trip, under scrutiny, given that teams who play in European competitions usually have a three-day gap between matches. There have been questions asked about whether the same should apply to officials.
And according toThe Telegraph, Webb is under pressure to stop officials from travelling to work abroad.
It is claimed that both England and Cook returned to London on Friday ahead of the Saturday evening kick-off, having taken a long-haul flight to return to the country.
Former PGMOL chief Keith Hackett told The Telegraph: “In my time in office, if they were in Europe on Thursday then they would not officiate until late Sunday or Monday at the earliest.”
Furthermore, there are said to be concerns that officiating in the Middle East could potentially become a risk of a conflict of interest – although it is said there are no concerns over the current case. Cook and England were both working in the UAE, with the Abu Dhabi United Group having taken over Manchester City in 2008.
Meanwhile, Michael Oliver officiated in Saudi Arabia, with the state’s Public Investment Fund owning a majority share in Newcastle.