Replaying Spurs-Liverpool match would ‘set a dangerous precedent’ – legal expert

LFC Globe
5th October 2023

Liverpool being offered a replay in the wake of last weekend's controversial VAR error at Tottenham would “set a dangerous precedent”, a legal expert has said.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp called for the match to be replayed after miscommunication between VAR Darren England and referee Simon Hooper led to a goal by Reds forward Luis Diaz being wrongly disallowed.

Klopp admitted it was unlikely such a request would be accepted, and Dr Sarah Carrick, a senior lecturer in law at Manchester Metropolitan University who specialises in sports law, said it could “open the floodgates” when other refereeing or VAR mistakes are made in the future.

“It's extremely unlikely a replay will be granted,” Dr Carrick told the PA news agency.

“That kind of decision would be extraordinary and sets quite a dangerous precedent.

“Although technically, and legally, Liverpool are potentially able to fight for a replay, the likelihood of it actually happening is very low. That being said, it does depend on how far Liverpool are willing to go.”

The Premier League's stance on a replay has remained unaltered all week – that it will not be considered. Sources close to the league point out that a number of teams have been on the wrong end of mistakes by referees and VARs in the past and have not benefited from a replay.

Dr Carrick added: “The Premier League position is not surprising. Ordering a replay would undoubtedly open the floodgates for clubs to challenge every wrong decision and ultimately, may deter referees from officiating.

“You can think of lots of examples from last season, Brighton v Crystal Palace or v .

“However, I think what this error does do is bring into question the Premier League's decision not to use the semi-automated technology which was successfully used at the last year and using AI to track players limbs to determine whether they are offside.”

Dr Carrick points out that Premier League regulations do, however, appear to at least contain a provision for Liverpool to request a replay.

“Premier League rule L18 states that, ‘the board shall have power to order that a league match be replayed provided that a recommendation to that effect has been made by a Commission in exercise of its powers under Rule W.51',” she added.

“Therefore, in theory, there is a possibility that Liverpool could request and pressure the Premier League board into creating a commission to investigate the decision of the referee and VAR.

“This commission would ultimately have the power to order the match to be replayed. The other option would be to initiate legal proceedings outside of the Premier League regulations. To do so, Liverpool would have to establish a sufficient contractual connection between them and the match officials and prove that there has been a breach of that contract or the existence of negligence which has caused them .”

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