Premier League referee suffers UEFA demotion after Virgil van Dijk's pointed comment

Virgil van Dijk looks on during Netherlands 0-0 France.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Virgil van Dijk and the Netherlands were left fuming with the decision to rule out what they believed to be a legitimate goal against France at Euro 2024. The Liverpool captain led the protests to on-field referee Anthony Taylor.

Assistant referee Adam Nunn raised the flag to rule the goal out after being told by Taylor that Denzel Dumfries was interfering with play, potentially stopping France's goalkeeper from diving to save a shot from Xavi Simons. But the frustration only increased because of the length of the resulting VAR check.

Post-match, Van Dijk aimed a pointed comment towards the officials. "We scored a goal that is a fair goal," Van Dijk insisted after the game. "He had no chance to get into that corner. But yeah, the English referee decided to disallow it."

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Stuart Attwell was on VAR duty and it took over two minutes before the decision was confirmed and play continued. Attwell also checked for a possible penalty kick after the offside decision which extended the delay.

Van Dijk's pointed comment at "the English referee" inevitably led to a discussion about Premier League officials again, with most of the tournament having seen swift calls be made compared to the lengthy checks in the English top flight. With Taylor on the field, it just so happened that a tricker decision needed to be made that took a little longer.

That will do little to change the perception that the Premier League's officials are worse than in other top leagues, even if UEFA's own data doesn't necessarily back that up. Taylor is very well regarded on the European stage and Attwell is one of UEFA's top VAR officials. Michael Oliver is also at Euro 2024 from England.

And while automated offsides coming into the Premier League next season will inevitably increase the speed of decisions, subjective calls like the Dumfries one will still be controversial. While it might not 'feel' right, the decision was correct.

Amid all of that, the Daily Mail reports that another Premier League official, Craig Pawson, has been demoted by UEFA ahead of next season. Previously on the 'First' list, Pawson is set to move to the 'Second' list with John Brooks, another referee in the English top flight, taking his place.

Taylor and Oliver are both on the 'Elite' list which is UEFA's top ranking. Darren England, Jarred Gillett, Robert Jones and Andy Madley are all also on the 'Second' list as it stands. says: You can see why Van Dijk was frustrated but the decision was correct in law. That is the view that UEFA has taken as well, though it would prefer for the call to have been made without such a delay.