Howard Webb explains ‘significant errors’ in VAR process to Arsenal and Brighton

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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 disallowed for offside in their 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

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.”

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.

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.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was furious that Ivan Toney's equaliser was allowed to stand
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was furious that Ivan Toney’s equaliser was allowed to stand (John Walton/PA)

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.

Brighton’s Pervis Estupinan (left) scores at Crystal Palace, but his effort is wrongly disallowed
Brighton’s Pervis Estupinan (left) scores at Crystal Palace, but his effort is wrongly disallowed (Yui Mok/PA)

“While hugely disappointed by the error, the club has accepted PGMOL’s apology and will not be making any further comment.”

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