Despite Howard Webb, the head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), criticizing Coote’s failure to award a penalty for a handball by Martin Odegaard at Anfield, he will once again play a crucial role in a match with significant implications for both teams .
David Coote has been appointed as the VAR for the upcoming Premier League clash between Arsenal and Liverpool, despite being at the center of a penalty decision controversy earlier this season. The match, set to take place at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, promises to be a crucial encounter for both teams, yet the spotlight is on the officiating following Coote’s previous oversight.
The controversy stems from an incident in the reverse fixture at Anfield on December 23, where Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard was involved in a handball incident that went unpunished. Despite replays suggesting a clear penalty, Coote, alongside on-field referee Chris Kavanagh, ruled that Odegaard had inadvertently fallen onto the ball, a decision that Howard Webb, now at the helm of PGMOL, later deemed incorrect.
Webb’s criticism of the incident was made public during his Mic’d Up show, where he reviews controversial decisions. He explicitly referred to Coote’s failure to spot the handball as an “important” error, casting doubt over the decision-making process in critical moments of the game.
Despite this, Coote’s selection as VAR for one of the season’s pivotal matches has been confirmed and Arsenal fans are wondering just how Coote will go about ‘balancing’ things up, even inadvertently.