Howard Webb arranges meeting for Premier League referees after offside errors

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Referees’ chief Howard Webb has called a meeting of Premier League officials for Tuesday after two high-profile offside errors at the weekend.

The refereeing body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) issued a statement on Sunday confirming Webb had contacted Arsenal and Brighton to acknowledge and explain mistakes made in their matches on Saturday.

VAR Lee Mason failed to check an offside in the build-up to Ivan Toney’s equalising goal for Brentford against Arsenal, while Brighton had a goal by Pervis Estupinan ruled out for offside because the lines were drawn from the wrong Crystal Palace player.

The PA news agency understands Webb called the meeting of all top-flight officials at Stockley Park in response to the incidents at the weekend.

Appointments for the next round of Premier League games are set to be confirmed at midday on Tuesday, which is always the case when there is a match on a Monday night.

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.

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.

Mikel Arteta
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was not happy with the offside call on Saturday (John Walton/PA)

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.

Lee Mason, who became a dedicated VAR at the start of last season, has faced calls to be sacked
Lee Mason, who became a dedicated VAR at the start of last season, has faced calls to be sacked (Peter Powell/PA)

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.

Mason was stood down for the round of games immediately following an earlier error 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.

At Brighton, Estupinan’s goal was disallowed because the lines drawn to check offside were applied to Palace defender James Tomkins rather than Marc Guehi, who was stood behind Tomkins and closer to the goal.

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