Darren England, the official whose "significant human error" led to the disallowing of a legitimate goal by Liverpool's Luis Diaz against Tottenham in September, is set to return as a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for the first time in over six months. England will be the VAR for the Premier League match between West Ham and Fulham on Sunday, marking his gradual reintegration into top-flight officiating duties.

The controversial incident occurred during Liverpool's 2-1 loss to Tottenham on September 30, when Diaz's goal was incorrectly ruled offside due to a "horrendous communication error" between England and assistant Dan Cook in the VAR booth. The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) described the situation as a "significant human error" and released the audio recording of the conversations between the VAR and on-field officials, which revealed a dismissive arrogance from those involved.

Following the incident, England was stood down from all refereeing duties and has not served as a VAR for any Premier League game in over six months. However, the 38-year-old official has been gradually eased back into top-flight duties, starting with his role as the fourth official for Brentford's game against Burnley in October. England did not referee another Premier League game until December 23, when he took charge of Luton's clash with Newcastle.

In recent weeks, England has become increasingly involved in officiating duties, including serving as the VAR for the FA Cup tie between Bournemouth and Leicester in February, with Michael Oliver as support VAR. This appointment marked a significant step in his return to VAR responsibilities.

The decision to reinstate England as a Premier League VAR comes after PGMOL acknowledged the "significant human error" that occurred in ruling out Diaz's goal. In a statement released after the incident, PGMOL said, "PGMOL acknowledge a significant human error occurred during the first half of Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool. The goal by Luis Diaz was disallowed for offside by the on-field team of match officials. This was a clear and obvious factual error and should have resulted in the goal being awarded through VAR intervention, however, the VAR failed to intervene."

The full transcript of the discussion between officials regarding the incident was also released, revealing the confusion and frustration among the officials. After England said "check complete" to referee Simon Hooper, Tottenham restarted the game with a free-kick, preventing the VAR from intervening to correct the call and award Liverpool their opener. England could be heard saying, "I can't do anything, I can't do anything, f***" on the audio.

Liverpool's reaction to PGMOL's apology over the incident drew criticism from Gary Neville, who described the club's statement as "vague and aggressive." Neville wrote, "Jurgen Klopp handled the situation well last night after the game. Most football fans will have had empathy with what happened and recognised it was wrong! However Liverpool's statement tonight is a mistake! Talk of exploring all options (what does that mean!!!) and sporting integrity are dangerous phrases along with being vague and aggressive."

As England returns to VAR duties this weekend, all eyes will be on his performance and the potential impact of his decisions on the match between West Ham and Fulham. The incident involving Luis Diaz's disallowed goal serves as a reminder of the importance of accurate and effective communication between officials, both on the field and in the VAR booth, to ensure fair and consistent decision-making in Premier League matches.

Chris Kavanagh will referee Liverpool's upcoming match against Crystal Palace this weekend, with Simon Bennett and Dan Robathan as linesmen, Keith Stroud as the fourth official, and Michael Oliver supported by Stuart Burt on VAR. As the Premier League season continues, fans and players alike will be hoping for improved officiating and a reduction in controversial decisions that can significantly impact the outcome of matches and the overall fairness of the competition.