Monday 16 December 2019

Jurgen Klopp won't face FA action after accusing BT Sport of cutting short time added on during Liverpool defeat

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (Getty)
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (Getty)

Jack de Menezes

Jürgen Klopp has accused BT Sport of forcing the team of officials that handled Liverpool’s FA Cup defeat by West Bromwich Albion last weekend to cut short the length of injury time by six minutes, but is unlikely to face any action over his comments.

The Liverpool manager claimed that the television broadcaster of last Saturday night’s encounter cut the length of time added on in the first half at the Hawthorns from 10 minutes to just four minutes.

A lengthy Video Assistant Referee [VAR] referral meant that play was halted for long periods in the first half, with referee Craig Pawson ruling out a Craig Dawson goal after the VAR informed him that Gareth Barry was standing in front of Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in an offside position, before the Reds were awarded a penalty via VAR when Jake Livermore was deemed to have fouled Mohamed Salah just minutes later.

The stoppage lasted for four minutes and 46 seconds as Pawson consulted the television screen next to the players’ tunnel, but that was not the only stoppage during the match. Injuries to both Hal Robson-Kanu and Kieran Gibbs forced West Brom manager Alan Pardew into two early substitutions that used up more than three-and-a-half minutes, while the three first-half goals totalled one minute 30 seconds as each celebration is allocated half-a-minute in time added on.

In total, Pawson should have been told to add on 10 minutes to the first half, but it’s been confirmed that the VAR – who is responsible for time added on when in use – informed fourth official Jon Moss to add on just four minutes.

Klopp was far from please with the outcome, and while he did not claim it cost them a result in the 3-2 defeat, he alleged that BT Sport had been behind the decision.

“What I heard was that the actual extra time in the first half should have been 10 minutes,” Klopp said. “It was only four minutes. I heard that television said it’s not longer than four minutes.

“Of course that’s not possible, you can’t cut match time because there is something else to broadcast.

“I don’t know what was afterwards, maybe the news or something. It was 10 minutes and so you need to play 10 minutes longer. You cannot say it’s now a little bit too long.”

Klopp’s comments came after the Liverpool manager criticised his side’s defending, with the German admitting that allowing West Brom to score three times – and have another ruled out – is unacceptable.

But he also felt the need to question what happened to the rest of the time lost in the first half, given that the reason that he had been told was also not acceptable if it was due to TV restrictions.

If it is 10 minutes, play 10 minutes,” Klopp added. “That is the situation, what can I say? We are used to accepting difficult things. You think that’s right or wrong, you say it and nobody listens.

“You step back because you don’t want to be a bad loser or whatever. But that was the situation. I would not have spoken about it but that was the case.”

BT Sport have denied having any influence on the matter, with the live broadcast last Saturday being followed by highlights of the FA Cup clash between Wigan vs West Ham and the Bundesliga.

The Football Association has also declined to comment and claim that it is a matter for the Professional Game Match Officials Limited [PGMOL], meaning that Klopp will not face action despite appearing to question the integrity of the officials involved on the day.

A PGMOL spokesperson confirmed that, as VAR was in use for the FA Cup clash, it was their responsibility to keep track of time lost during play and inform the fourth official of the correct length of injury time, and stressed that BT Sport nor any other broadcasters had any say in the matter.

“The VAR (video assistant referee) will advise the fourth official on the number of minutes to be included as added time for each half in respect of any time lost through VAR,” the spokesman said. “Broadcasters are not involved in this process.”

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