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VAR could not intervene to disallow Ivan Toney’s free-kick for Brentford against Nottingham Forest on Saturday because the protocol for using the technology does not cover restarts.

Forest are understood to have written to Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and the Premier League asking for clarification regarding Toney’s goal.

The Brentford forward moved the ball to the right of the spot designated in vanishing spray by referee Darren England before he took the set-piece, and even moved some of the spray to the new spot.

Toney curls in the free-kick to give Brentford the lead against Forest
Toney curls in the free-kick to give Brentford the lead against Forest (John Walton/PA)

Toney’s actions could have been deemed as unsporting behaviour and worthy of a yellow card if the officials had spotted it, but the VAR Michael Salisbury was unable to intervene under the protocol laid down by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which sets the laws of the game.

Under the VAR protocols published on the IFAB website, it states that VAR may only consider clear and obvious errors in relation to goals, the awarding of penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity.

When a goal is scored or disallowed, the IFAB protocol states that only the following can be considered: an “attacking team offence in the build-up to or scoring of the goal (handball, foul, offside etc)”, and the ball being out of play prior to the goal.

Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo said after the match: “The law is clear – every situation that leads to a goal must be checked. It’s not even a matter of inches, it’s almost a yard.”

Toney’s goal was his first since his return from an eight-month gambling ban and helped Thomas Frank’s men leapfrog their opponents in the Premier League table.

PGMOL has not yet commented on the incident.