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Lee Mason quits as VAR referee by ‘mutual consent’ after Newcastle United and Arsenal blunders

9 months ago

Lee Mason is leaving PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited – who are effectively the match officials union) and will no longer act as VAR Referee for Premier League matches.

The Mail report that it is by ‘mutual consent’ that Lee Mason is leaving.

This follows the latest VAR shambles last weekend which prompted both PGMOL and the Premier League to release a number of official statements (see below) about the situation.

Last weekend, John Brooks made a big error at the Palace v Brighton match and was removed from planned VAR duties this week, although he will referee this weekend.

Whilst last Saturday, Lee Mason was getting it badly wrong at the Arsenal v Brentford game, he wasn’t named as VAR official for any game this weekend (he has retired from refereeing and along with Mike Dean was one of only two that were solely dedicated to VAR).

Back in September 2022, it was Lee Mason who was responsible for the appalling VAR actions that denied Newcastle a goal (see image above and below) and very likely the win against Crystal Palace. He disappeared for a month from VAR duties before returning back then, though nothing official was ever said about his absence.

Now though it appears to be one blunder too far and Lee Mason no longer carrying out this role in Premier League matches.

PGMOL statement – 12 February 2023:

‘PGMOL can confirm its Chief Refereeing Officer Howard Webb has contacted both Arsenal and Brighton & Hove Albion to acknowledge and explain the significant errors in the VAR process in their respective Premier League fixtures on Saturday.

Both incidents, which were due to human error and related to the analysis of offside situations, are being thoroughly reviewed by PGMOL.’

PGMOL – 14 February 2023:

‘A constructive meeting was held at Stockley Park today, led by new Chief Refereeing Officer Howard Webb, to thoroughly review officiating errors in Premier League matches last weekend.

There was a focus on error prevention and a reinforcement of best practice process with the aim of achieving accurate outcomes in an efficient manner going forward. We accept mistakes were made and we acted accordingly by calling a meeting…

and changing appointments where appropriate, however, we are encouraged by the way our officials have responded & are confident they will take the learnings forward, always with the aim of delivering high officiating standards for the benefit of the game.’

Premier League official statement – 15 February 2023:

‘The Premier League sets high standards and is disappointed that PGMOL fell below those expectations last weekend.

As a result, the Premier League requested that PGMOL review and explain a number of incidents from the recent match round.

Following discussions with PGMOL, and yesterday’s Select Group One review meeting, we support PGMOL’s views on addressing these issues to improve performances going forward.’

The above Premier League statement follows these earlier PGMOL pronouncements.


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