Ex Super League official at the heart of Jurgen Klopp’s VAR row

From refereeing the likes of Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves, Hull FC and St Helens to being involved with the likes of Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal, Phil Bentham has had quite a career change.

You will no doubt have heard about the saga around Liverpool’s controversially disallowed goal last week against Tottenham Hotspurs for Luis Diaz.

It made headlines again when Jurgen Klopp called for the game to be replayed. It has been the sport of football’s major story lately.

But what you may not know is the fact that Phil Bentham plays a key role in the saga as VAR coach.

In fact it will be on him to make sure this mistake is not repeated.

Bentham recently appeared on the Eddie and Stevo podcast and said of his move to VAR:

“I made the decision to move on from rugby league just for the reason of going to try and do something different.

“I’ve been in rugby league for many years and an opportunity was offered to me to come and work with the VARs, really in terms of the way they communicate the decisions in preparation for in the future maybe going live on TV and certainly letting some of that communication be heard by clubs and by the general public.

“So obviously rugby league, we’ve been doing that since probably the 1996 I think it was in Paris, where we’ve always been recorded. Then I think it was probably around 2014 we actually went live on TV as video referees.

“Obviously some of the guys at football had heard what we do and wanted to see whether or not I could come in and help out the football guys.

“We set the standard in terms of technology in sport now, we were the first people to ever do it in rugby league, all those years ago. So, yeah, I mean it’s no surprise that they come to us with all our experience.

“I know there’s a new (TV) deal dome, and we need now to progress it in rugby league, getting it in Super League for every game will be massive for the sport. I’m looking forward to seeing how that pans out next year.”