Tony Harrington named fourth official for Newcastle-Brentford after VAR ‘error’

Officials on the day determined that City defender Manuel Akanji, who was stood offside, did not interfere with play.

Jamie Gardner
Tuesday 12 September 2023 10:58 BST
Tony Harrington, pictured, was involved in awarding a goal to Manchester City in error in the view of referees’ chief Howard Webb (PA)
Tony Harrington, pictured, was involved in awarding a goal to Manchester City in error in the view of referees’ chief Howard Webb (PA)

A VAR who made what referees’ chief Howard Webb described as an “error” in awarding a goal to Manchester City in the last round of Premier League matches has been selected as a fourth official for the coming weekend.

Tony Harrington will be on the touchline for the Newcastle v Brentford match on Saturday, and will also be the referee for Friday night’s Championship game between Hull and Coventry as he continues his return from injury.

Harrington and assistant VAR Adam Nunn checked and cleared Nathan Ake’s goal for City against Fulham on September 2, which put them 2-1 up in a game they ultimately won 5-1.

Ake’s header went low into the bottom corner, narrowly passing by his team-mate Akanji who was stood in an offside position. Harrington and Nunn determined that Akanji’s presence had no significant impact on Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Fulham head coach Marco Silva strongly disagreed with the decision to give the goal, and Webb admitted last week that it should not have counted.

“From the outset I think this should have been disallowed. It certainly appears Akanji has an impact on Leno the goalkeeper who seems to hesitate,” Webb told the ‘Match Officials: Mic’d Up’ programme.

“We think it’s a clear situation of offside. Unfortunately it wasn’t identified on the day. This was an error.”

Silva said after the match on September 2: “Everyone that plays football, everyone that has played football, everyone that has some knowledge about football – I’m 100 per cent sure – has to disallow that goal.

“Everyone has to be furious if a goal like that comes against you. For the linesman I believe that it can be difficult but, for the VAR, it is impossible not to disallow that goal. It is a clear offside.”

Nunn will be an assistant referee alongside Harrington at the Hull v Coventry match.

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