Why did PGMOL contact Arsenal and Brighton? Controversy around VAR decisions and what’s been said - explained

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Arsenal and Brighton were the subjects of controversial VAR decisions in the Premier League this weekend

Referees chief Howard Webb has contacted Arsenal and Brighton to explain ‘significant errors” in the VAR process during their matches on Saturday which were “due to human error.”

Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Brentford in which Ivan Toney’s equaliser should have been ruled out for an offside in the build-up and Brighton had a first-half strike by Pervis Estupinan wrongly ruled out for offside in their 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The PGMOL today responded with a statement confirming both clubs had been contact about the mistakes.

“PGMOL can confirm its Chief Refereeing Officer Howard Webb has contacted both Arsenal and Brighton & Hove Albion to acknowledge and explain the significant errors in the VAR process in their respective Premier League fixtures on Saturday.

“Both incidents, which were due to human error and related to the analysis of offside situations, are being thoroughly reviewed by PGMOL.”

What was issue in Arsenal game?

Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett has called for VAR official Lee Mason to be sacked for failing to rule out Toney’s equaliser. The PA news agency understands Mason did not fully investigate an offside decision against Brentford’s Christian Norgaard during the build-up to Toney’s leveller at the Emirates Stadium.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Hackett’s call to Webb comes amid fresh controversy surrounding the implementation of VAR with Chelsea and Brighton also aggrieved at controversial decisions which went against them. The former official said in a Twitter post: “Howard Webb is now in charge of the PGMOL. One of the first things he should do is dismiss permanent VAR operator Lee Mason.

“This weekend, Mason lets another referee down by not disallowing the Brentford goal for offside. These are decisions that VAR should get right.”

The Gunners were leading courtesy of Leandro Trossard’s strike when Toney headed home from close range after Norgaard had turned the ball back across goal. After a lengthy delay, referee Peter Bankes was advised to award a goal, much to the annoyance of Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and his players.

PA understands a block from Brentford defender Ethan Pinnock on Gabriel Magalhaes as Mathias Jensen swung a free-kick into the box was checked and cleared, but also that VAR official Mason did not fully investigate an offside call against Norgaard with no lines drawn on the screen to determine whether the Denmark international should have been penalised.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Brighton VAR decision explained

Arteta’s misgivings were matched by those of Chelsea counterpart Graham Potter, who saw his side denied a late penalty at West Ham as they were also held to a 1-1 draw having earlier had two “goals” correctly ruled out for offside. Defender Tomas Soucek appeared to handle Conor Gallagher’s shot inside the area in his attempt to make a block, although referee Craig Pawson was not advised to review his decision not to award a penalty by VAR official Neil Swarbrick.

Bemused Blues boss Potter said: “I thought it was a good save. It looks like a handball to me. I didn’t know Tomas could get down that easily and save like that. But it’s not for me to say about VAR.”

Brighton too had cause for complaint after Estupinan’s effort was disallowed following a review. VAR John Brooks ruled that the Ecuador international was offside, but television pictures later suggested the line had been drawn incorrectly from James Tomkins rather than fellow Palace defender Marc Guehi, who appeared to be playing him on.

The Seagulls confirmed on Sunday that thy had received an apology from PGMOL for “a serious error”. A spokesman said: “As was confirmed to the club by PGMOL last night, a serious error was made in disallowing Pervis Estupinan’s goal at Crystal Palace yesterday afternoon.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The lines drawn in the VAR room to determine whether Pervis was in an offside position were drawn incorrectly, and the goal should have stood. While hugely disappointed by the error, the club has accepted PGMOL’s apology and will not be making any further comment.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.