Who is the official that called for Liverpool's match to be halted?

The only man speaking sense in the VAR chaos! Football fans hail ‘Oli’ the replay operator who tried to stop the officials during their big mistake… and he’s come a long way from working in a kitchen and teaching roller-blading!

  • PGMOL have released the VAR audio from Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat by Tottenham
  • Audio revealed VAR executive Oli Kohout had called for officials to halt the game
  • Click HERE to listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ 

Audio recordings from the VAR room revealed the scale of the blunder that led to Liverpool’s Luis Diaz’s having a goal against Tottenham wrongly ruled out, but also that one member of the team called for the game to be halted.

Referee’s body PGMOL made the audio tape public on Tuesday night in a video which demonstrated officials knew of their huge mistake immediately but still did not stop the game. 

Those at Stockley Park wrongly believed the on-field decision to be ‘goal’, meaning they said the check was complete, with Diaz clearly onside.

The VAR operator is heard to say after play wrongly restarted, ‘Wait, wait, wait, wait, the on-field decision was ‘offside’, are you happy with this? That’s wrong that, Daz (Darren England, VAR)’, to which England sighs and swears, shouting ‘Oh f***’.

While the audio demonstrated a breakdown in communication between those involved and a serious lapse in concentration by VAR, one member of the team attempted to salvage the situation. 

The PGMOL have released the full audio from the VAR hub during Liverpool’s controversial 2-1 defeat to Tottenham, that saw referee Simon Hooper incorrectly disallow the Reds a goal

VAR official Darren England (left) and VAR assistant Dan Cook (right) mistakenly approved the on field decision to disallow the goal before being informed of their error 

VAR Hub Operations Executive Oli Kohout had called for officials to bring a halt to the match

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The recording reveals Oli Kohout, the VAR Hub Operations Executive, called in to urge the officials to delay the match.

Kohout has been serving in the position for nearly one year at PMGOL, after moving to the referee’s body following four years as a Football Systems Operator for VAR with Hawk-Eye.

The VAR Hub Operations Executive has a degree in sports technology from Loughborough University.

Kohout’s attempted intervention has earned praise, with the executive quickly attempting to act to halt the match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

His attempt to salvage the situation ultimately proved unsuccessful, with VAR Darren England concluding he was unable to intervene to halt the match, likely due to IFAB rules.

Audio revealed Kohout had urged the VAR officials at Stockley Park to delay the match. 

How the latest VAR controversy unfolded – transcript in full 

Assistant referee 1 (Adrian Holmes): ‘All good. Both holding. Both holding’

Referee (Simon Hooper): ‘Yeah, leave it alone.’

Assistant referee 1: ‘Waiting. Delaying, delaying.’

VAR (Darren England): ‘Possible offside, Diaz.’

Assistant referee 2 (Simon Long): ‘Give it.’

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.’

Replay operator: ‘Just get a tight angle.’

VAR: ‘Yeah give me 2D line ready after this one from frame two after that.’

Replay operator: ‘So frame two there?’

VAR: ‘That’s fine. Perfect, yeah. 2D line on the 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?’

VAR: ‘2D line on the boot.’

Replay operator: ‘Yep, okay. So 2D line on the boot.’

VAR: ‘And stop. Check complete, check complete. That’s fine, perfect.’

Assistant referee 1: ‘Playing.’

Referee: ‘Cheers mate.’

VAR: ‘Thank you mate.’

Referee: ‘Well done boys, good process.’

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

Assistant VAR (Dan Cook): ‘Yeah.’

Replay operator: ‘Are you happy with this?’

Assistant VAR: ‘Offside, goal, yeah. That’s wrong that, Daz.’

VAR: ‘What?’

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

Assistant VAR: ‘He’s playing him, he’s gone offside.

VAR: ‘Oh f***’

Replay operator: ‘Delay, delay. Oli (Kohout, 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 operator: ‘Delay the game, to delay the game? Stop the game.’

VAR: ‘They’ve started the game. Can’t do anything, can’t do anything.’

Assistant VAR: ‘Yeah they’ve restarted. Yeah. No.’

VAR: ‘I can’t do anything. I can’t do anything. F***.’

‘Delay, delay. Oli (Kohout, PGMOL Hub Ops) saying to delay, Oli’s saying to delay,’ a replay operator can be heard saying on the audio.

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.’

The replay operator was reportedly Mo Abby, the advanced systems lead at Hawk-Eye, PGMOL’s technology partners.

The Telegraph reported that Abby would typically not speak during matchday, but attempted to intervene having realised the scale of the situation and to relay the advice from Kohout that the match be delayed.

The recording was initially released to Liverpool before being publicly revealed on Tuesday night. 

The PGMOL said in a statement that ‘standards fell short of expectations’ and it has identified three key areas ‘to mitigate against the risk of a future error’.

A Premier League spokesperson added: ‘It is clear that there were not only human errors but systemic weaknesses in the VAR process. We accept PGMOL’s immediate recommendations to ensure that such failures are not repeated in the future.

‘However, a wider review to seek consistently higher standards of VAR performance will be conducted by the Premier League and PGMOL and where necessary further recommended actions will be brought forward and implemented.’

Luis Diaz’s wrongly disallowed goal would have put Liverpool 1-0 up against Tottenham

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp ultimately saw his nine-man side suffer a 2-1 loss to Spurs

Mail Sport has revealed that PGMOL chief Howard Webb is set to escape the storm by flying to the Netherlands to work for UEFA on the side this week. Webb will act as observer for the Europa Conference League group game between Alkmaar and Legia Warsaw on Thursday.

The 52-year-old Englishman will be at the AFAS Stadion to evaluate the officiating team. It is not known how much UEFA’s referee observers are being paid per assignment – if anything but one former observer told Mail Sport that expenses are covered for up to £350 (€400) per day.

Webb’s trip comes after England and Cook were part of an officiating team sent to the United Arab Emirates to oversee a UAE Pro League match, two days prior to their VAR error at Stockley Park.

The PGMOL have faced criticism for sanctioning that 16-hour round trip on the eve of such a significant Premier League fixture, while insiders suggested referees can command around £2,500 ($3,000) for these one-off assignments in the Middle East.

Both England and Cook have been dropped from this weekend’s fixture list following their mistake, while referee Simon Hooper will act as VAR for Everton versus Bournemouth on Saturday.

It can also be revealed that the Premier League’s introduction of an automatic offside system has been affected by their contract with ball supplier Nike, whose products have yet to be extensively trialled with the new technology.

Mail Sport has learned that the software which enabled automatic offsides to be used for the first time at last year’s World Cup was created by a collaboration between German analytics company Kinexon and FIFA’s official ball supplier adidas.

The Premier League have a long-standing contract with Nike however, although sources insist this will not be an issue moving forward as alternative technologies have been developed which do not require a sensor to be placed in the ball.


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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