While it might seem like a good idea to keep a certain referee out of the firing line with a certain club for a while, there aren’t that many officials to go around so you can’t orchestrate a situation where someone can’t oversee a game involving a specific club.
David Coote made the headlines a few weeks ago when Jordan Pickford’s tackle on Virgil van Dijk went unpunished, but he was scheduled to be the VAR official for Liverpool’s clash with Leicester on Sunday.
Understandably that led to a few murmurs on social media from Liverpool fans who weren’t happy about it, but PGMOL have made this into a big story by removing him from the fixture at a fairly late stage.
READ MORE: ‘What’s the point in having you?’ – Liverpool’s Andy Robertson questioned David Coote’s ability months before Pickford blunder
Although some fans may not like to admit it – referees are human too – so they’re obviously going to lose confidence and struggle to perform if they’re hung out to dry by their bosses in this way.
Caught Offside spoke to former PGMOL boss Keith Hackett to get his views on the situation, and it’s clear he thinks the organisation has to handle this differently:
“David Coote has had a torrid time with his performances as the VAR official so I did suggest that he needed to be taken out of the hot seat.
“When referees have a dip in form or become the centre of media attention due to poor decision making then they should be taken out of the spotlight of the media and TV.
“Coote’s errors in the VAR role must also have a knock-on effect to his colleagues with them losing confidence in his form and ability.
“Let’s hope with additional coaching and operational advice that he can be appointed to a VAR role again in the future.
“With a little cognitive thinking PGMOL could’ve avoided this mess and the public embarrassment to one of their employees”
His last point is the most crucial thing here because all this does is magnify the attention that Coote will receive next time he’s appointed to oversee a Liverpool game, so this will increase the pressure on the referee to have a good game.
Hackett was also keen to point out that Coote will still oversee the clash between Man United and West Brom this weekend, so he hopes he has a positive performance there.
We also asked Hackett about any pressure that Liverpool may have applied to get Coote removed from the game, and he does think this may have played a part too:
“I would suggest the reason for the change is down to Liverpool’s concerns given Coote’s role in failing to send off Jordan Pickford.
“It would be unusual, but I think there’s a strong possibility that Liverpool have expressed concerns through the Premier League.”
There are usually two schools of though when it comes to building someone’s confidence back up – you can either put them straight back in the firing line or look to slowly build them up again.
Clearly the second option makes the most sense with David Coote due to the pressure that he would come under, so hopefully he does get over these mistakes and develops into a trusted Premier League referee after all.