Forest take up offer to listen to VAR audio linked to penalty appeals at Everton

Nottingham Forest have accepted an offer to listen to the VAR audio linked to three penalty claims in their match against Everton, the PA news agency understands.

Referees’ body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) extended an offer to Forest on Tuesday to hear the audio in private, after the club asked on Monday for the audio to be released publicly.

Sources close to the Premier League outfit were initially unhappy that the audio would not be released publicly as requested, but it is understood the club have now accepted the offer to hear it privately.

Forest issued an extraordinary statement on social media immediately after their 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park, in which Forest said they had “warned” PGMOL before the match that VAR Stuart Attwell “was a Luton fan”, and PGMOL did nothing to change his appointment.

The Premier League could charge the club in relation to that statement, with the league saying it was “extremely disappointed” by their comments and adding that it was “never appropriate to improperly question the integrity of match officials”.

The club went on to call for rules on referees’ and VARs’ allegiances to be extended so that “contextual rivalries” as well as local rivalries were taken into account.

Referees do already declare allegiances and will not be assigned that team’s matches, or certain other fixtures such as those involving direct local rivals of that club.

For instance, Michael Oliver has spoken in the past about being unable to referee Newcastle games because he is a fan.

Other factors that determine appointments include which teams an official’s immediate family members support, as well as performance and the number of times they have officiated a particular team’s matches.

Three members of Forest staff – manager Nuno Espirito Santo, full-back Neco Williams and referee analyst Mark Clattenburg – could also be charged by the Football Association over comments they made about the officiating on Sunday.

The FA has asked them for observations on their comments.

Pep Guardiola was asked about the Forest referee row on Wednesday and said: “The referees want to do the job as best as possible. Of course, they feel the pressure, we put pressure on them for the passion of the game, for the moment.

“But when I sit here and reflect afterwards, they try to do their best and are under scrutiny with the cameras there. When they make a mistake, they feel bad. It’s normal. When they do the job, they want to do it well, to be fair. The game is so difficult, it is so complicated, fast, it’s quick, decisions have to be made in one instant. It’s not easy going.”


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