Lee Mason and Neil Swarbrick will no longer serve as referees in future Premier League games

Feb 17, 2023

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MANCHESTER, England – Two more VAR officials involved in contentious situations last weekend have been relieved of their duties by Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the organization in charge of match officials across English football, it was revealed Tuesday. This is in preparation for the next Premier League games.

The VAR appointments for the following round of games have not been granted to Lee Mason or Neil Swarbrick.

Brentford and Arsenal tied 1 to 1 thanks to a goal from Ivan Toney that was assisted by Christian Norgaard, who had returned from being offside.

As a result, the goal was allowed to stand even though Mason failed to apply the offside lines. Ahead of their matchup on Wednesday at the Emirates, the outcome saw Arsenal’s lead over Manchester City reduced to three points.

Tomas Soucek appeared to block Conor Gallagher’s attempt with his hand while diving to his left in the 89th minute of Chelsea’s 1 to 1 draw at West Ham United, denying them a penalty. Swarbrick, the head of VAR for the Premier League, decided against informing the referee that he might have been awarded a penalty kick.

Later on Tuesday, PGMOL released a statement stating that “a constructive meeting was held at Stockley Park today, overseen by Chief Refereeing Officer Howard Webb, to thoroughly analyze refereeing errors in Premier League matches last weekend.”

In order to produce accurate results in the future efficiently, there was an emphasis on error prevention and a reinforcement of best practice processes.

We are encouraged with the way our officials have responded and are certain they will apply the lessons learnt moving forward with the aim of delivering excellent officiating standards for the benefit of the game. “We recognize that mistakes were made and we moved correctly by having a meeting and making the required modifications to match official appointments.

John Brooks was replaced as VAR for Liverpool’s match against Everton on Monday and Arsenal’s match against Manchester City on Wednesday night by Webb, who admitted making “serious errors” on two offside decisions on Saturday (replaced by David Coote).

In the 1 to 1 draw at Crystal Palace on Saturday, Pervis Estupinan scored for Brighton & Hove Albion, but Brooks incorrectly disallowed it because he placed the wrong player on the wrong side of the offside line. The first game of the day on Saturday, when Arsenal visits Aston Villa, will feature Brooks after he was absent for the previous two games.

PGMOL erred even though it neglected to mention the goals by Brentford, Brighton, and Chelsea in its statement, in addition to the penalty they received.

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