Nottingham Forest make request to PGMOL for VAR audio from Everton defeat to be released

Nottingham Forest accused Stuart Attwell, the VAR for their contentious 2-0 defeat at Everton on Sunday, of being a Luton fan after three penalty appeals were turned down; Forest want VAR audio from the match to be released; FA seek observations; Premier League ‘extremely disappointed’

Image: Anthony Taylor waved away three Nottingham Forest penalty appeals at Everton

Nottingham Forest have made a formal request to the PGMOL for the VAR audio from their Everton defeat on Sunday to be released publicly.

Forest had three separate penalty appeals dismissed by match referee Anthony Taylor during their 2-0 loss, with the on-field decisions endorsed by VAR Stuart Attwell.

The relegation-threatened club then accused Attwell of being a Luton fan, saying they had “warned” the PGMOL before the match over the issue and said the club would “consider its options”.

  • Mark Clattenburg doubles down on Stuart Attwell being a ‘Luton fan’
  • Ref Watch: ‘Yes, no, maybe’ for Forest appeals – agree with Dermot?
  • ‘Allegiance forms’ and how PGMOL selects officials
  • Live Premier League table | Watch free Premier League highlights

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Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher gives his opinion on all three of Nottingham Forest’s penalty appeals against Everton

A statement on Monday from Forest said: “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.

“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 is upheld.”

The Football Association announced it had “formally requested observations” from Forest, boss Nuno Espirito Santo, full-back Neco Williams and referee analyst Mark Clattenburg following their comments.

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Following Nottingham Forest’s suggestion that VAR Stuart Attwell is a Luton fan, Sky Sports News’ senior reporter Rob Dorsett explains how the PGMOL appoints officials to matches

The Premier League said it would also be investigating the matter, having been “extremely disappointed” to read Forest’s post-match comments, adding that it is “never appropriate to improperly question the integrity of match officials”.

This high-profile tit for tat continued as Forest responded in kind, calling for the PGMOL to “amend its rule on allegiances to account for contextual rivalries in the league table, not just local rivalries”.

Taking again to X, formerly know as Twitter, the club’s latest statement included: “NFFC stands by its request for greater transparency around PGMOL appointments to further protect the game’s reputation, as intended in PGMOL’s existing approach to allegiances.

“Given the widespread and ongoing concerns, not merely of the fans, players and managers of this club but of many others and the pundits too, over VAR decisions throughout this season any move which boosts confidence in the system should be properly considered.”

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Former Premier League referee Clattenburg, who works as a consultant for Forest, was at Goodison Park for the match. On Sunday evening, his column in the Daily Mail referenced the club’s post-match statement but stopped short of condemning it.

Instead, Clattenburg labelled the penalty decisions “a joke”, criticised the PGMOL for appointing Attwell as VAR, and repeated Forest’s assertion that “a Luton fan such as Attwell” should not have been involved in the game.

“One of these errors would have been bad enough,” he wrote. “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.

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Gary Neville says Nottingham Forest will regret their ‘horrendous’ statement made in the aftermath of VAR controversy in their 2-0 loss to Everton

“It was a hat-trick of howlers from the refereeing team and, unfortunately for Forest, a continuation of an unjust trend that has hampered their survival fight.

“You will have seen the statement released by the club – how the PGMOL were contacted to warn that it was not appropriate for a Luton fan such as Attwell to play such a pivotal role in a massive match that would impact the relegation race.

“Certainly, I would not have risked this situation if I were the head of the referees and all of this could have been avoided had the PGMOL simply made smarter appointments. Referees do not make mistakes deliberately but this was mind-boggling to watch. Why Attwell did not send Taylor to his screen, only he will know.”

The PGMOL have not yet responded publicly. It is not the first time this season a Premier League club have made a formal request to receive an audio recording of an exchange between officials.

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Sky Sports News’ Rob Dorsett reflects on the ongoing saga surrounding Nottingham Forest, with the club calling on PGMOL to release audio from their loss to Everton in which there were three controversial non-penalty awards.

Back in October, Liverpool did so following their defeat at Tottenham after the PGMOL were forced to issue an apology for a “significant human error” in disallowing Luis Diaz’s first-half strike from an onside position.

Liverpool requested the audio be released on the Monday evening, 48 hours after the defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The PGMOL made public the audio recording of the VAR discussion the following day.

Carra: FA need to come down hard on Forest

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Jamie Carragher has slammed Nottingham Forest’s social media post after they were denied three potential penalties against relegation rivals Everton during their 2-0 defeat

Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher:

“The FA need to come down hard on Forest and stamp this out. There’s been stuff with Liverpool at Tottenham and Arsenal at Newcastle. It feels like it’s building with Clattenburg at Forest. It’s like a tactic to put pressure on officials in some way. We saw Clattenburg in the stands.

“This shouldn’t get away from Anthony Taylor and Stuart Attwell having a bad day but this behaviour needs stamping out, like asking for an apology, exploring all options. There are no options. There needs to be a really big sanction on Forest.”

Dean: Forest out of order – Premier League has nothing to hide

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Former Premier League referee Mike Dean says that Nottingham Forest’s statement suggesting that Stuart Attwell is a Luton Town fan was ‘astounding’ and questions why they hadn’t complained about being refereed by him earlier in the season.

Former Premier League referee Mike Dean on Sky Sports News:

“Clubs sometimes look at the fixtures and ask why referees are doing a certain game, but I didn’t see any complaints from Nottingham Forest on February 24 when Stuart was VAR for their game away at Aston Villa, or their home game with Liverpool.

“There was no question then, was there? So why not put a statement out then about him being a Luton fan? They never questioned the appointment or put a complaint in.

“It’s bang out of order, Stuart’s one of the most honest referees we’ve got. He was on the Premier League, got removed, and came back on even stronger.

“He’s one of the best VARs we have, and throughout the world. He attends many World Cup seminars, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s at the Euros this summer and probably involved in the World Cup too. He’s highly respected within UEFA and FIFA. It was bang out of order.

“Clubs have always been allowed to request VAR audio. Some don’t want to, they feel like what’s done is done, but some feel aggrieved and do request it. It’s there, it’s available if they want it, the Premier League has nothing to hide and never has.

“What I would say is that the next Mic’d Up show, Howard Webb will probably cover those three decisions and then it’ll be in the public domain anyway.

“I wouldn’t have thought they’d release it to everyone before that, because you’ve got the assessors to go through the game, the coaches and the PGMOL themselves.”

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