‘Fairness was lost’

‘Fairness was lost’

Martin Keown said that “fairness was lost on the day” for Liverpool as they had a Luis Diaz goal incorrectly ruled out against Tottenham.

The score was 0-0 at the time in their Premier League match on Sunday, and the goal would have put Liverpool 1-0 up when they were already down to 10 men following Curtis Jones’ dismissal.

Keown outlined where the officials had gone wrong, and believes that one key change could address the biggest shortcoming – that the game could not be brought back once the error had been identified.

He said: “You can’t go back. They’ve got a set of rules which means you can’t go back. There are four reasons, but there should have been a fifth: for unforeseen circumstances, which this was.

“You had the operator who, by the way, should probably be doing VAR now, in future, because he was the decision-maker trying to flag it up.

“Michael Oliver was also trying to stop the game but they were then impinged by this rule that says no we can’t. But why have we handcuffed ourselves because fairness was lost on the day. I like the transparency. It shows there’s a lack of adequate chain of command.”

The former Arsenal defender also noted that there was a lack of clarity as the officials communicated the decision between themselves and the officials on the pitch.

“The language was inadequate: ‘Check complete… happy.’ No-one knew what he was happy about,” he continued.

Keown rejected claims of bias, noting: “It’s not a question of integrity, it’s a question of competency.”

Michael Owen agreed with Keown, and suggested that clearer communication had to be at the heart of any changes.

He said: “VAR is probably at rock bottom after that. I agree with Martin that it can only get better, and I also agree with Martin that they have to say, ‘Check complete, that’s offside,’ or , ‘Check complete, that’s a goal.’

“They have to substantiate it, which I think is where we are now. So, there will be learnings from this which is the only positive.”

However, the former Liverpool and Manchester United striker had some sympathy for those involved, and believed it was a genuine human error.

“I think it’s a hard listen, that was a hard listen for me,” he added. “I’m sinking in my seat as I’m listening. But I actually think it’s brilliant in general for the game in general. All the people who say it’s a conspiracy, that is nonsense. This is a big, big human error. And anyone who’s got a heart is feeling for the VAR there.”

Rio Ferdinand agreed that there was no clear leader of the situation, and suggested that one improvement was to give up more decision-making power to the technology itself at the same time.

Ahead of Manchester United’s game with Galatasaray, he said: “This is high-level, top-level stuff. It’s the Premier League, shown around the world. Huge investment in our game. In this type of situation I’m looking for – as a player, an ex-player, part of the media – who is taking ownership of that situation? Who is the boss, who is leading that there?

“It looks like they’re all in there and nobody knows who is going to take ownership of this. That’s the problem.

“My other point is in the World Cup, technology took over, it wasn’t left to the human eye, to human error. Then there was a vote from the Premier League that said the technology’s not ready, we don’t want it. If they’d let that come in we wouldn’t be having the problem with that situation, I believe.”

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