The organisation representing English football’s top-flight referees effectively conceded Sunday that the VAR decisions to disallow West Ham and Newcastle goals this weekend were wrong as it promised to “fully co-operate” with a Premier League review of the incidents.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Professional Game Match Officials’ (PGMOL) Board took the uncommon step of “acknowledging” the specific incidents.
VAR decisions in matches are already reviewed by a five-member independent panel comprised of Premier League and PGMOL executives, as well as three former players. Their results are forwarded to the clubs in question.
Such was the controversy generated when West Ham were denied a late equaliser at Stamford Bridge, and Newcastle a goal in their 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace, that the PGMOL has agreed to this additional layer of scrutiny.
“PGMOL acknowledge the incidents to disallow the goals in the Chelsea v West Ham and Newcastle v Crystal Palace fixtures,” said a PGMOL statement.
“We will fully co-operate and collaborate with the Premier League and their request to review these two particular incidents, using the outcome as part of the ongoing assessment of weekly performances and the development of our match officials going forward.”
West Ham boss David Moyes was enraged following a contentious finale to his team’s 2-1 loss at Chelsea, in which Hammers’ Maxwel Cornet’s late equaliser was rejected by VAR.
Andy Madley, the match referee, gave the goal despite Jarrod Bowen’s contact with Edouard Mendy after the Chelsea goalkeeper spilled the ball.
VAR, on the other hand, asked Madley to review the event on the pitchside monitors, and the goal was disallowed.
“I’m amazed that VAR sent the referee for him to see it,” said Moyes. “But I thought even if he goes to the TV there’s no way he’s overturning this, because this is a goal.
“It was a ridiculously bad decision.”
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe was more restrained in his response to seeing an own goal by Tyrick Mitchell of Crystal Palace overturned.
Referee Michael Salisbury ruled it out for a foul by Joe Willock on goalkeeper Vicente Guaita but Howe said: “I didn’t think it should have been disallowed, personally, I thought it was a foul or a push on Joe Willock in the build-up to the ball coming in.
“If anything, it’s a penalty if it’s not a goal, so I was very surprised with the outcome.”