Arsenal & Brighton: VAR mistakes due to ‘human error’
Referees’ body PGMOL says “human error” was to blame for incorrect VAR decisions in games on Saturday.
PGMOL chief Howard Webb has contacted Arsenal and Brighton to “acknowledge and explain the significant errors” that occurred in their games.
VAR operator Lee Mason did not draw the guidelines to check for offside on Brentford’s equaliser against Arsenal.
Brighton had a goal disallowed for offside against Crystal Palace after the VAR guidelines were wrongly drawn.
During the 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium, Ivan Toney’s 74th-minute goal was the subject of a VAR check by Mason following Ethan Pinnock’s challenge on Gabriel.
That incident was cleared but there was a suggestion Christian Norgaard was offside in the goal’s build-up.
However, Mason did not use the system’s lines that would have shown whether the Brentford man was offside or not.
In the 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park, Pervis Estupinan’s strike on 32 minutes was disallowed after a VAR review deemed the Ecuadorian to be offside.
However, the offside line was wrongly drawn from James Tomkins rather than his fellow Palace defender Marc Guehi, who was standing just behind him and would have played Estupinan onside.
There was more VAR controversy elsewhere on Saturday when Chelsea were denied a late penalty against West Ham, despite Tomas Soucek appearing to block Conor Gallagher’s shot with his arm.
The incident was checked but no further action taken.
The decisions made for an uncomfortable day for Webb, who has pledged to drive up standards in the top flight.
Webb’s early weeks in the job have been regarded as positive. However, for Mason, a dedicated VAR official, to be involved in one of two key mistakes on one day, creates a difficult situation for Webb to deal with.
“Both incidents, which were due to human error and related to the analysis of offside situations, are being thoroughly reviewed by PGMOL,” said a statement from the body.
A Brighton spokesperson said the club “while hugely disappointed by the error, has accepted PGMOL’s apology”.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta accused officials of “changing the rules”, while former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy called it a “horrendous decision”.
“I just looked back and it is offside, yes,” Arteta said after the match.
“You have to apply certain principles in defending and you do that by sticking to the rules. Suddenly you change the rules and then you have to change your principles.”