Panel: Jota’s red card versus Spurs was erroneous.

Jota red card at Spurs was incorrect, panel says

The ‘remarkable’ mistake that led to VAR error in Spurs vs. Liverpool (1:41)
  • Dale Johnson, General Editor, ESPN FC
    Oct 5, 2023, 03:47 PM

The Premier League‘s Independent Key Match Incidents Panel has ruled Diogo Jota should not have been sent off in Liverpool‘s controversial 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, ESPN can reveal.

Jota was shown the red card after two challenges in little more than a minute, both on Spurs defender Destiny Udogie.

ESPN has seen the assessments of the panel for week seven, detailing that the second tackle on Udogie in the 69th minute was not worthy of a yellow card from referee Simon Hooper.

The report stated that “the majority deemed the decision as incorrect as they felt it did not meet the threshold for a yellow card,” with the five members voting 3-2 against a booking.

The panel has five members, made up of three former players and/coaches, plus one representative each from the Premier League and PGMOL. The judgement is not intended to be definitive, but to provide an arms-length assessment of all major match incidents. PGMOL, and indeed the clubs, are likely to disagree with some of the results.

At the time, few observers questioned the merits of Jota’s second caution, which left the Reds with nine men for the rest of the game. It was the first booking, when Udogie’s trailing leg had clipped the Portuguese forward’s knee, that seemed more worthy of reassessment. However, the panel does not make judgements on the first yellow card if a player is dismissed for two bookable offences.

Diogo Jota is sent off by referee Simon Hooper. Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was furious with both red cards, as well as the goal Luis Díaz saw wrongly ruled out for offside.

Curtis Jones was dismissed via a video review in the 24th minute for a challenge on Yves Bissouma, but the panel supported that intervention by the VAR, Darren England. Klopp has confirmed that Liverpool lost an appeal to the Football Association to get Jones’ three-game suspension quashed, though he was unable to make a protest against Jota’s one-match ban for two cautions.

On Wednesday, Klopp told a news conference that be believed the game should be replayed after PGMOL, the refereeing body, admitted “standards fell short of expectations” on the Diaz incident, whose goal was disallowed because of an error by the VAR with the score at 0-0 in the 34th minute.

According to the panel, it was the worst weekend for referees this season with four missed VAR interventions — more than the rest of the season combined.

It was ruled that Aston Villa‘s second and third goals in their 6-1 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion should have been ruled out. Villa led 1-0 when Nicolò Zaniolo was in the line of vision of Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele on Ollie Watkins‘ shot, with the panel split 3-2 in favour of the goal being disallowed.

Minutes later, Brighton’s Solly March was brought down by Douglas Luiz in the lead up to Pervis Estupiñán‘s own goal. However, while the panel judged it to be a foul by Luiz, voting 4-1 for a VAR intervention, there was no reference to the relevance of the attacking phase, which would have been the key consideration in an overturn for the VAR, Stuart Attwell.

It was also stated that Villa defender Ezri Konsa should have been shown a second yellow card in the 71st minute, when the score was 4-1. Brighton midfielder Ansu Fati was booked after an altercation with Konsa, who had been booked in the 57th minute, and the panel felt both players should have been cautioned.

The panel also unanimously felt that Brentford were denied a clear penalty at Nottingham Forest when goalkeeper Matt Turner kicked through on Brentford forward Yoane Wissa. The game finished 1-1.

All other key match incidents for games played between Saturday and Tuesday were ruled to be correct by the panel.

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