Daniel Cook and Darren England: Referees return to Premier League duties after controversial match decision
VARs Darren England and Daniel Cook will return to Premier League duties this weekend following the mistake made during a high-profile match between Tottenham and Liverpool last month
After making a mistake during a high-profile match between Tottenham and Liverpool last month, VARs Darren England and Daniel Cook will be back on the job this weekend in the Premier League. The pair were serving as the VAR and VAR assistant, respectively, when Liverpool forward Luis Diaz's goal in Tottenham's 2-1 victory over Liverpool was wrongfully disallowed for offside.
The following week, both officials were stood down. Miscommunication between VAR England and referee Simon Hooper led to Diaz’s goal being wrongly ruled out on 30 September, with the incident later described by referees’ chief Howard Webb as “a clear error”.
England mistakenly thought the on-field officials had ruled Diaz to be onside, which meant that when he told them ‘check complete’ they believed he had upheld their on-field decision and restarted play with a free-kick. Once play had restarted, there was nothing the VARs could do to revisit the decision under existing protocols.
Which games will England and Cook be officiating?
For Saturday's (21 October) match between Brentford and Burnley, England will serve as the fourth official, while Cook will take over as the assistant referee for Sheffield United's game against Manchester United. Referee Simon Hooper is the designated VAR for Newcastle’s home game against Crystal Palace on the same day.
Has there been any change to VAR?
New VAR guidelines were introduced in the wake of the Diaz disallowed goal controversy, while audio of the incident was later released. Referees’ body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), said it would develop a new VAR communication protocol in an effort to avoid similar mistakes being made in future.
PGMOL said the protocol would “enhance the clarity of communication between the referee and the VAR team in relation to on-field decisions”. VARs will now also confirm the outcome of the checking process with the assistant VAR before confirming the final decision to the on-field officials.