Sources within the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) have revealed that VAR staff were watching BBC2’s Eggheads rather than the Aston Villa-Sheffield United game, Paddy Power News can exclusively reveal.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland fumbled an Oliver Norwood cross and appeared to allow the ball into his goal before recovering possession, but Hawk-Eye’s goal-line technology failed too signal to referee Michael Oliver that a goal had been scored, prompting outrage from Sheffield United players and staff and bemusement among those watching on television.
The numbers of which didn’t include VAR staff, who could’ve reviewed and corrected the error, but had switched over to BBC2 for teatime quiz show Eggheads instead.
Footage seen by Paddy Power News from inside the Stockley Park facility shows a member of the video officiating team changing the channel “just for a minute” approximately 15 minutes into the first Premier League game since the Covid-19 shutdown.
“6pm? What kind of kick off time is that on a Wednesday? Anything happens, they’ll call anyway”, another team member is overheard saying as they watch “Let’s Get Quizzical” from Coventry attempt to outwit the might of the general knowledge quiz boffins.
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With little of note happening in the game, the team members spent the final thirty minutes of action debating quiz answers and who’s the smuggest of the Eggheads, past and present.
“Judith, though she can afford to be smug with a million quid I suppose”
“Thank Christ CJ’s gone though. He did my head in.”
“Daphne was the worst – she’d pretend she didn’t know the answer but then always ‘guess’ right.”
However, with the two remaining challengers failing to name where the ischium is located in the human body in the final round, the Eggheads once again emerged victorious, before Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys came on at 6.30.
“No, leave it on, some of these are good. I’m making a brew, if you want one,” is overheard on the tape at this point, meaning the team members were oblivious to the fumbling Villa goalkeeper and irate Blades squad before they switched back to Sky at half-time to see the score.
“Nil-all. Boring,” one voice is recorded saying, before noting that Escape to the Chateau is about to start on More4.
“Yeah, go on, stick it on, not like there’s anything happening in this,” comes the response from his colleague, who then picks up the paper to look at the runners in the 7:20 at Chelmsford.
“It’s great to have the football back,” he mutters.