fbpx Skip to main content

The VAR who wrongly disallowed a Brighton goal against Crystal Palace at the weekend has been replaced for two matches he was due to officiate this week.

John Brooks ruled out a goal by Pervis Estupinan after drawing the offside lines against the wrong Palace player, one of two major offside errors by VARs during Saturday’s action.

Brooks had been due to act as VAR for Monday night’s Merseyside derby and the Arsenal v Manchester City match on Wednesday, but Professional Game Match Officials (PGMOL) has confirmed Brooks has been replaced by Andre Marriner and David Coote respectively for those matches.

PGMOL’s chief refereeing officer Howard Webb has called a referees meeting for Tuesday in the wake of the two high-profile errors made in the Premier League over the weekend.

The other involved dedicated VAR Lee Mason, who failed to check an offside in the build-up to Ivan Toney’s equaliser for Brentford at Arsenal.

Appointments for the next round of Premier League matches are due to be confirmed at midday on Tuesday.

PGMOL has not commented on whether Mason will be involved. He was not selected earlier this season in the round following another high-profile error he made, when he disallowed a goal for Newcastle in their home match against Crystal Palace on September 3.

Former referee Lee Mason has been a dedicated VAR since the start of last season
Former referee Lee Mason has been a dedicated VAR since the start of last season (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Webb’s impact since his return to the English game at the end of last year after a stint managing referees in the United States has largely been well received.

He presented to clubs at Friday’s Premier League shareholders’ meeting and has raised the bar for VAR intervention on subjective decisions so that only clear and obvious errors are now being reviewed.

Webb sees the purpose of Tuesday’s meeting as being to identify the issues from the weekend, reflect on them, review them and move forward.

He is keen to ensure officials have the correct support and coaching, and VARs already have dedicated assistance from former rugby league referee Phil Bentham.

Keith Hackett, a former referee and former PGMOL general manager, has called for Mason to be sacked.

He described Mason as a “serial offender” in his column for the Daily Telegraph and added: “Lee would be towards the bottom in the list of best performers. He has seemingly passed the point of requiring operational assistance – he does not have a place any more.”

PA understands Mason, who became a dedicated VAR at the start of last season after retiring as an on-field official, did check and clear a block from Brentford’s Ethan Pinnock on Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes as Mathias Jensen swung a free-kick into the box. However, Mason did not fully investigate the play directly preceding Brentford’s goal, when Christian Norgaard appeared to be in an offside position before he hooked the ball back across goal for Toney to score.

In September, Newcastle were initially awarded a goal against Crystal Palace but Mason disallowed it on review for a foul by Magpies forward Joe Willock on Eagles goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

However, replays indicated Willock had been pushed into Guaita by Palace defender Tyrick Mitchell.