Since its debut in English football in 2019, Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR) has been a contentious talking point around the footballing family, but on Saturday evening, VAR’s stock in the minds of Premier League fans hit an all-time low as the match between Tottenham and Liverpool contained perhaps the worst mistake made in the game since the introduction of technology.
On the weekend, shock swept the world as Luis Diaz’s opening for Liverpool was ruled out for offside despite the fact that the Colombian winger was clearly put onside by the trailing leg of a Tottenham defender.
Tottenham vs Liverpool drama
Not only that, but Liverpool felt hard done by after both Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones were controversially sent off on the weekend, forcing Liverpool to finish the game with a two-man disadvantage, allowing Joel Matip to score a stoppage-time own goal at the death, driving the dagger even deeper into Liverpool fans’ hearts.
The PGMOL swiftly responded to the incident after the game, stating that the ‘PGMOL acknowledges a significant human error occurred’ and that ‘this was a clear and obvious factual error and should have resulted in the goal being awarded through VAR intervention.’
Liverpool also expectedly put out a strong statement after the game, profusely asserting that the proceedings on the weekend were ‘unacceptable’ and that the club ‘will explore the range of options available, given the clear need for escalation and resolution.’
Leading sports lawyer comments on Spurs vs Liverpool drama
However, a leading sports lawyer has confirmed that there are actually grounds for Liverpool to have their match against Tottenham replayed after this weekend’s antics. Following the release of the audio recordings between the match officials on Tuesday evening, Stephen Taylor Heath, co-head of sports law at JMW Solicitors, has confirmed that Liverpool do have grounds to order a rematch of the fixture if they wish, which the club has yet to call for.
Taylor Heath explained to the Mirror why Liverpool is legally entitled to force a rematch, saying, “Rule L18 outlines that the Premier League board has the power to order a league match to be replayed, provided that a recommendation to that effect has been made by a commission under rule W51.”
“In addition to this, under rule W1, the Premier League’s board has the power to inquire about any suspected breach of rules, including those made by a match official, while rule N4 ensures that each match official agrees to be bound by the laws of the game as well as any protocols and FA rules.
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“There is therefore a possibility that Liverpool could lobby the Premier League board to convene a commission which would have the power, among others, to order the match to be replayed.
“To mount a general legal case outside of the Premier League regulations, a starting point would normally have to be to establish a contractual nexus between the club and the officials that has been breached or a duty of care and negligence causing loss.”