Every Time Howard Webb And PGMOL Has Apologised To Premier League Clubs For Wrong VAR Decisions

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VAR has had its fair share of blunders since its introduction, leading to multiple apologies from the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) – but how many times has it happened?

Premier League clubs voted unanimously to introduce VAR for the 2019/20 season and the technology has remained in place ever since, but not without controversy and constant debate on a weekly basis.

Here is every incorrect decision that the PGMOL and Chief Refereeing Officer Howard Webb has been forced to apologise for in the Premier League.

Every Time PGMOL Has Apologised For Wrong VAR Decisions

1. Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Liverpool – 30 September 2023

PGMOL has admitted ‘significant human error’ was behind Luis Diaz’s goal being ruled out in Liverpool’s agonising 2-1 loss against Spurs. The VAR team mistakenly thought the on-field decision had been to award the goal.

VAR Darren England and his assistant Dan Cook have stood down from their next scheduled matches. “This was a clear and obvious factual error and should have resulted in the goal being awarded through VAR intervention.”

2. Manchester United 1-0 Wolves – 14 August 2023

PGMOL’s first apology of the 2023/24 season came following Manchester United’s opening game victory against Wolves at Old Trafford, where new goalkeeper Andre Onana should’ve been penalised for a reckless challenge inside the area on Sasa Kalajdzic in stoppage time.

Wolves manager Gary O’Neil says he received an apology from PGMOL’s Jonathan Moss for the failure to award his side a penalty. The incident was checked by VAR but referee Simon Hooper was not ordered to check the pitchside monitor.

“I was told live that they didn’t think it was a clear and obvious error but having just spoken to Jonathan Moss —  and fair play to him for coming straight out —  he apologised and said it was blatant penalty and should have been given,” O’Neil said.

Hooper, video assistant referee Michael Sailsbury and assistant VAR Richard West have all been dropped from this weekend’s fixtures in the aftermath of the incident.

3. Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Brighton – 8 April 2023

The PGMOL admitted a mistake was made by match officials and VAR after not awarding Brighton a penalty in the Seagulls’ 2-1 defeat to Spurs last weekend.

Howard Webb apologised to Brighton and held talks with the club about the decision-making process in the game after Karou Mitoma was fouled by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the area.

Referee Stuart Attwell declined to award a penalty and VAR official Michael Salisbury supported the decision, which marks the third apology given to Brighton this season due to incorrect officiating.

4. Arsenal 1-1 Brentford – 11 February 2023

11th February 2023 – possibly VAR’s worst day at the office. Arsenal dropped points against Brentford despite Ivan Toney’s equaliser being offside, which was allowed to stand following review.

Christian Norgaard standing in an offside position was not spotted by VAR’s Lee Mason – who were instead checking for offside against Ethan Pinnock.

The PGMOL acknowledged ‘a significant error in the VAR process’ after ‘forgetting’ to applying the correct lines. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta accused Lee Mason of ‘not understanding’ his job which could eventually cost the Gunners a Premier League title.

“That wasn’t a human error. That was a big, big, big not conceiving and understanding your job,” said Arteta. “That’s not acceptable, I’m sorry. And that cost Arsenal two points and that’s not going to be restored.

“We appreciate the apology and the explanations which were really open to be fair.”

5. Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton – 11 February 2023

Referee John Brooks was taken off VAR duty for two matches after an error made in Brighton’s 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace this season, incorrectly ruling out a legitimate goal for the visitors which had a direct impact on the scoreline.

Brooks drew an offside line in the wrong place, denying Brighton’s Pervis Estupinan the opening goal of the game at Selhurst Park. Brighton dropped points in their pursuit of a European spot and could have serious implications on the final standings.

The PGMOL confirmed that Howard Webb had contacted Brighton to ‘acknowledge and explain the significant error’.

6. Everton 0-1 Manchester City – 26 February 2022

Referee Paul Tierney and VAR official Chris Kavanagh missed a blatant handball from Manchester City midfielder Rodri in a 1-0 win for Pep Guardiola’s side away at Everton in February last year.

The Spaniard misjudged a bouncing ball in the area which ricocheted off his upper arm, but the on-field decision not to award a penalty stood despite clear and obvious evidence of handball.

Everton made an official complaint to the Premier League and referees’ chief Mike Riley personally apologised to Frank Lampard for the error. Lampard accused Chris Kavanagh of being a ‘professional who cannot do his job right’.

Riley called the Everton manager and club chairman Bill Kenwright to apologise for the mistakes made.

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