His inclusion in the list of people that will officiate the match sparked wide-ranging criticism from football fans across the world because it is believed that David Coote who was in charge of the VAR when Liverpool played against Everton on September 17, failed to sanction Everton’s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford when he tackled Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk.
When the incident happened, the VAR was called upon to recheck the challenge, instead of David Coote to focus on the challenge, the English referee focused on Van Dijk being offside. Hence, Pickford was not punished for the harsh challenge and Liverpool did not win a penalty.
If this challenge is on any other player (not built like VVD) it’s a leg snapper/career ender. Pickford should be ashamed. pic.twitter.com/ruTtdYg0eE— Nora Calder (@NoraUtd) October 17, 2020
The tackle left Virgil van Dijk with a knee injury which he had to carry out surgery on. It is feared that the injury might keep the Netherlands international out of football until the end of the 2020-2021 season.
After the match, the Liverpool football club tried to take the case up but the English FA insisted that Everton’s goalkeeper will not be punished since the referee saw the challenge and didn’t deem it fit for a sanction on the pitch.
This sparked agitation against David Coote and became a source of surprise to the fans of the reigning Premier League champions when the referee’s name appeared on the list of those who will officiate the Liverpool vs Leicester City league match on Sunday.
Hence, when the news broke that Coote’s name has been removed from the VAR duty and was replaced by Andre Marriner, football fans and the critics of the VAR official believed that he was taken off the job because of what happened in the Merseyside derby in September.
On the contrary, a Freelance football journalist who mainly covers Liverpool FC, David Lynch, tweeted that David Coote was not removed from the VAR duty for the Liverpool vs Leicester match because of Pickford’s challenge on Van Dijk. He claimed that he was informed that Coote was replaced ahead of the match due to “operational reasons”.
I'm told that the PGMOL have removed David Coote from VAR duty for #LFC's game against Leicester City on Sunday for 'operational reasons' rather than anything relating to his controversial role in the Merseyside derby.— David Lynch (@dmlynch) November 18, 2020
As of the time of publishing this report, the English FA has not given an official reason for removing Coote from VAR duty ahead of the Premier League match.