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Forest call for release of VAR audio as FA probe referee blasts

By AFP

April 22, 2024 11:38 PM


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Nottingham Forest have asked for the VAR audio to be released from their three denied penalty appeals in a 2-0 defeat at Everton that sparked the club to call into question the integrity of Premier League officiating.

Forest issued an extraordinary post on social media soon after the final whistle at Goodison Park on Sunday saying they had "warned" referees body the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) that VAR official Stuart Attwell is a fan of relegation rivals Luton.

Forest are just one point and one place above Luton, who are in the drop zone.

"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," Forest said in a statement on Monday.

"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).

"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."

PGMOL have been pressured into releasing audio recordings of controversial incidents earlier in the season.

Referees' chiefs were forced to admit an error after Liverpool had a goal at Tottenham wrongly ruled out for offside as the VAR officials thought the goal had been awarded.

Audio of other selected incidents has also been broadcast on the "Match Officials Mic'd Up" programme during the season, but the laws of the game prevent such audio being broadcast live.

Meanwhile, the Football Association has asked Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo, defender Neco Williams and referee analyst Mark Clattenburg to explain comments they made post-match.

Forest enlisted the services of former referee Clattenburg in February as a consultant analyst to fight their corner after believing they had been on the wrong end of a series of contentious decisions.

Writing in his Daily Mail column, Clattenburg said: "One of these errors would have been bad enough.

"Three was a joke, and that is why Nottingham Forest were left feeling victimised after another defeat in which zero big decisions went their way."

However, Forest's public blast at the officials has been hit with a backlash.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher accused the two-time European champions of sounding like a "fan in a pub."

"Stuart Attwell and Anthony Taylor (the referee) have had an horrific day today, awful, and they should be rightly criticised for that and that could have real implications for Nottingham Forest," said Carragher, now a Sky Sports pundit.

"I get the frustration, but that, what I've just read there on social media, that's like a fan in a pub. That is embarrassing from Nottingham Forest. I get the frustration.

Fellow pundit Gary Neville called on Clattenburg to resign from his role with the club.

"If he sees those words go out, which question the integrity and essentially call a VAR official a cheat because he supports a certain club, then he's supporting what's being said and he would basically lose all credibility, I think, with referees in the game."

The win for Everton lifted them five points clear of the relegation zone with five games to play, despite being deducted eight points this season for breaches of financial rules.

Forest have been docked four points for the same reason.


AFP


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