With all the controversy surrounding Liverpool’s denial of a perfectly legitimate goal during the 2-1 defeat to Tottenham at the weekend, some are wondering what course of action the club could take.
Liverpool’s statement following the game called out the poor performance of the refeering and VAR team’s and it also mentioned that they will ‘explore the range of options’ available.
Some aggrieved fans want to see the game replayed, which is something that hasn’t happened in Premier League history and is something that is nigh on impossible given the schedules of teams these days.
However, one example from America could show us one way to deal with a situation in which a ‘significant human error’ could be handled.
Back in 2021, the United Soccer League announced that a portion of a USL Championship match will be replayed after a bizarre decision led to the referees disallowing a goal in error.
It involved Miami FC and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, and it was announced that both teams would recommence on October 27 from the 67th minute with Pittsburgh holding a 1-0 lead after a referee got a decision wrong as he applied the wrong ruling in a game.
As ESPN reported at the time: “The officials initially awarded a goal to Pittsburgh when Miami’s Devon Williams played the ball to teammate Janos Lobe on a free kick, whose back pass then breezed past keeper Connor Sparrow and into the net for an own goal.
“The rule states that a ball that goes into the net directly from a free kick results in a corner kick for the opposing team. The referees erronously applied that rule, disallowing the goal and instead giving Pittsburgh a corner kick. But since Miami’s free kick had been put in play first, it should have remained an own goal.
“The game then ended in scoreless tie.”
USL president Jake Edwards released a statement saying at the time that it ‘exceeded the reasonable degree of human error that is inherently part of the game’ - and perhaps it’s something that the PGMOL could consider.
Liverpool’s statement read: “That such failings have already been categorised as “significant human error” is also unacceptable. Any and all outcomes should be established only by the review and with full transparency.
“This is vital for the reliability of future decision-making as it applies to all clubs with learnings being used to make improvements to processes in order to ensure this kind of situation cannot occur again.
“In the meantime, we will explore the range of options available, given the clear need for escalation and resolution.”
Any replaying of a game or moment in the future would certainly be an unprecendented event and it would be unclear whether it would be something that could occur.
However, it’s been explored in other leagues as shown by the example in the USA which gives some scope for it could be handled better in the future.