Premier League ‘extremely disappointed’ by Nottingham Forest PGMOL demands

The club feel that three VAR decisions went against them in their 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park

Lawrence Ostlere
Tuesday 23 April 2024 11:11 BST
FA seeks ‘formal observations’ from Nottingham Forest trio over comments about officiating

The Premier League was “extremely disappointed” by comments Nottingham Forest made on social media demanding the audio of three VAR decisions they believe went against them in the defeat to Everton be released to the public,

The club also called for a change in how referees are selected after three penalty incidents, all involving Everton’s Ashley Young, were checked and cleared by the video assistant referee during the fixture at Goodison Park.

The league issued a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: “The Premier League was extremely disappointed to read the comments made by Nottingham Forest on social media yesterday, following its match against Everton.

“We note The FA has confirmed it will be investigating the club’s statement. It is never appropriate to improperly question the integrity of match officials, and the nature of these comments mean the Premier League will also be investigating the matter in relation to the League’s Rules.”

Goals from Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil secured the hosts a crucial victory in the relegation battle, moving them four points clear of their opponents.

And having claimed that they requested the removal of VAR Stuart Attwell from his duties ahead of the fixture due to the official being “a Luton fan”, Forest have now asked Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) to release the audio of the contentious moments.

“Nottingham Forest has today submitted a formal request to the PGMOL to release into the public domain the audio recordings between officials during yesterday’s match against Everton at Goodison Park,” the club said.

“The club has requested this be shared for three key match incidents - Ashley Young’s challenge on Giovanni Reyna (24th minute), Ashley Young’s handball (44th minute) and Ashley Young’s challenge on Callum Hudson-Odoi (56th minute).

Stuart Attwell was effectively accused of bias by Nottingham Forest in a statement (Getty Images)

“We firmly advocate for the broader football community and supporters to have access to the audio and transcript for full transparency, ensuring the integrity of our sport is upheld.”

The club also called for the PGMOL to change the way in which it selects referees by taking into account “contextual rivalries in the league table” when considering who an official supports.

“It is clear PGMOL must amend its rule on allegiances to account for contextual rivalries in the league table, not just local rivalries,” Forest tweeted. “This is currently not within the criteria but should be. Mere reliance on match officials to recuse themselves if contextual rivalries exist invites conjecture, as some have recused themselves where others have not.”

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg, who joined Forest as a referee analyst in February, doubled down on the club’s claims in a column for the Daily Mail, describing the decisions as a “joke” and the refereeing as “egregious”.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville called for Clattenburg to resign from his role on Sunday, while the Football Association (FA) has confirmed that it will be investigating Forest’s social media post.

Nottingham Forest were furious at being denied three penalties in their defeat (REUTERS)

In October, PGMOL released audio from the match officials after a Luis Diaz goal was wrongly disallowed during Liverpool’s game against Tottenham, and discussions were also made public from an incident in Arsenal’s defeat to Newcastle in November.

Nottingham Forest sit one point above Luton, who occupy the final relegation spot two points ahead of Burnley.

The club are appealing against their points deduction for breaching Premier League profit and sustainability rules, with a hearing due to be held on Wednesday.

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