In a Premier League match between Arsenal and Brentford on 11th February 2023, VAR Referee Lee Mason, in a controversial decision, failed to spot a clear offside in a fast buildup play by Brentford, which led to Ivan Toney’s equalizer for Brentford. Brentford’s Christian Nørgaard appeared offside before assisting Ivan Toney’s goal.
In response, Premier League erased his name from yesterday’s appointments list published on the website. The Professional Game Match Officials Limited said, “PGMOL can confirm its Chief Refereeing Officer Howard Webb has contacted both Arsenal and Brighton to acknowledge and explain the significant errors in the VAR process in their respective Premier League fixtures on Saturday,” it further read, “Both incidents, which were due to human error and related to the analysis of offside situations, are being thoroughly reviewed by PGMOL.”
Reacting to this, yesterday in a pre-match Press Conference, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta expressed his disappointment by saying, “It wasn’t human error, it was not understanding your job,”
“It cost Arsenal two points that are not going to be restored, so we are going to have to find those two points somewhere else in the league.
“We ended the game – after analyzing all the evidence we had with the images – with a huge anger and disappointment. We appreciate the apology and the explanations from PGMOL as they were open. We received a lot of sympathy from our colleagues in football.”
“I will only be satisfied if they give me the two points back, which will not be the case. They were sincere, open, and genuine apologies and explanations, which is really good but it doesn’t change the fact we have two less points than we should have in the table.”
Last year in September, Mason wrongly disallowed a Newcastle goal for a foul in their match against Crystals Palace at St James’ Park. Lee Mason, was a professional referee between 2006 to 2021. Last year after his retirement, he was appointed as VAR referee.
Alongside Lee Mason, another VAR referee, John Brooks, was removed from all VAR duties for the Merseyside derby, played on 13th February 2023, and Thursday, 16th February 2023, for the Arsenal Vs. Man City game. The VAR official was punished for denying Brighton their goal against Crystal Palace on Saturday, 11th February 2023.