Premier League
The Premier League trophy shown in a video released by Manchester City

The English Premier League has been embroiled in a controversy involving the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) over the past several days. While this is not the first time that the VAR has become controversial, the recent Tottenham vs Liverpool match witnessed a glaring error by match officials. Days after Liverpool requested for audio recordings of discussions between the match officials, the same has been released to the public.

The recordings in question were made during the VAR check around Luis Diaz's disallowed goal in the 34th minute of the match. Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah released a pass to Luis Diaz, who subsequently managed to charge past the Tottenham defence to find the back of the net. At this point, the match was still goalless, and Diaz thought that he had put the Reds in front.

Then, the assistant referee's flag went up, ruling him offside. There was brief conversation between on-field referee Simon Hooper and VAR Darren England, who was assisted by Dan Cook. After the VAR check, Hooper confirmed to the players on the pitch that his decision stands, and the match was allowed to proceed at 0-0.

Various replays showed that Diaz was in fact onside, and after the final whistle the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) almost immediately issued a statement confirming that the goal was erroneously disallowed due to "human error".

In the aftermath, Liverpool asked for the audio recordings in order to erase any doubt about the decision-making process. The audio has now been released and shared to the public.

What the officials said:

VAR Darren England: Possible offside Diaz

Assistant referee 1: Coming back for the offside mate

VAR: Just checking the offside. Delay, delay

VAR: Give the kick point, let's go. Kick point please

Referee: Yeah no worries mate

Replay operator: So here we are

Referee: Wait, OK

Replay operator: Just get a tight angle

VAR: Yeah give me a 2D line ready after this one for frame two after that

Replay operator: So frame two there?

VAR: That's fine. Perfect yeah. 2D line on left boot

Replay operator: Let me just switch angles

VAR: Romero I think it is?

Replay operator: I think it might be this angle better? Happy with this angle?

VAR: Yep

Replay operator: 2D line on the boot. Yep ok.

VAR: And stop.

At this point, the VAR officials clearly saw that Diaz was onside based on the frames from the replay. However, the bizarre exchange followed:

VAR: Check complete, check complete. That's fine, perfect. Off.

Referee: Cheers mate

VAR: Thank you mate

Referee. Well done boys. Good process.

The game was then restarted at 0-0, and the goal was officially disallowed despite protests from the Liverpool camp. Then, just moments later, the VAR team realised the mistake after it was pointed out by the replay operator.

Replay operator: Wait, wait, wait, wait. The on-field decision was offside. Are you happy with this?

Assistant VAR: Yeah

Replay operator: Are you happy with this?

Assistant VAR: Offside goal yeah. That's wrong Daz.

VAR: What?

Replay operator: On-field decision was offside. Are you happy with this image? Yeah it's onside. The image that we gave them is onside.

Assistant VAR: He's played him. He's gone offside.

VAR: Oh [expletive]

At this point, everyone in the VAR room has become aware that the mistake has been made, but on the pitch, everyone was oblivious. The match had resumed and Liverpool were back on the attack.

Oli Kohout, the VAR Hub operations manager, tried to intervene and asked the referees to delay the game. He made the attempt to rectify the situation before the game moved forward even more. However, there was clear hesitation from England.

Replay operative: Delay delay. Oli [PGMOL Hub Ops] saying to delay. Oli's saying to delay.

VAR: Pardon.

Replay operator: Oli's calling in to say delay the game. The decision is onside

VAR: Can't do anything

Replay operator: Oli's saying to delay. Oli's saying to delay

VAR: Oli?

Fourth official: Yeah

Replay operative: Delay the game, to delay the game? Stop the game.

England then goes on to confirm that he can no longer reverse the decision as the game has already restarted.

VAR: They've restarted the game. Can't do anything, can't do anything.

Assistant VAR: Yeah, they've restarted. Yeah

VAR: Can't do anything.

Assistant VAR: No

VAR: I can't do anything. I can't do anything.

VAR: [expletive]

After two minutes, Tottenham went ahead through a goal by Son Heung-Min. Liverpool eventually found an equaliser via Cody Gakpo, but an own goal by Joel Matip in stoppage time gave Spurs the 2-1 victory.

In another PGMOL statement, they confirmed that despite realising their mistake, the VAR team could no longer stop the game to rectify the issue. "The VAR and AVAR concluded that the VAR protocol within the Laws of the Game would not permit that to happen, and they decided intervention was not possible as play had restarted," read the statement.

Liverpool also appealed against Jones' red card, which was given after VAR intervention, but the appeal was denied.