Key Points:

  • British Airways pilots have been brought in to train Premier League officials on improving communication during VAR (Video Assistant Referee) reviews.

  • The initiative follows a controversial incident where Liverpool's Luis Diaz had a goal incorrectly disallowed due to poor communication between VAR officials.

  • Pilots Chris Heaven and Pete Nataraj emphasized the importance of clear, concise communication, drawing parallels between their roles and VAR operations.

Enhancing VAR Communication with Pilot Expertise

In an innovative approach to enhance the effectiveness of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) reviews, Premier League officials have sought the expertise of British Airways pilots. According to a report by The Times, pilots Chris Heaven and Pete Nataraj have been engaged to help improve the clarity and precision of communication among VAR officials. This initiative comes in the wake of a significant error earlier this season when Liverpool's Luis Diaz had a goal mistakenly disallowed due to miscommunication during a match against Tottenham.

During a presentation specifically tailored for top-flight football officials, the pilots underscored the critical need for unambiguous and accurate communication. They advised against the use of informal language and emphasized the reduction of syllables in verbal exchanges. The Times noted on Friday that this training session was part of a broader effort to refine the VAR process in Premier League matches.

Addressing VAR Challenges Post Liverpool-Tottenham Incident

The incident involving Luis Diaz, which occurred during Liverpool's 2-1 defeat to Tottenham in September, highlighted the challenges in the current VAR system. Confusion arose due to unclear communication between the VAR and assistant VAR, Darren England and Dan Cook, and on-field referee Simon Hooper. The audio from this incident, which included casual phrases like "well done boys" and "cheers, mate", faced significant criticism for its lack of professionalism in decision-making.

In response, a 45-minute presentation was conducted, drawing parallels between the roles of pilots and VAR officials. The focus was on filtering out irrelevant information, or "white noise", to ensure complete clarity in critical situations. This training comes as part of a comprehensive review of VAR procedures initiated after the controversy surrounding Diaz's disallowed goal. The review aims to streamline communication protocols and enhance the accuracy of decisions in Premier League matches, ensuring that such errors are minimized in the future.