Blundering VAR official replaced for two huge Premier League fixtures

John Brooks

The VAR system had a weekend to forget in the Premier League when a string of glaring mistakes attributed to “human error” were made in several of the division’s fixtures.

With criticism of the match officials still ringing, it was announced on Monday that one of the offending refs, John Brooks, would be replaced as the VAR for both the Merseyside Derby between Liverpool and Everton, as well as the titanic title clash between Arsenal and Manchester City on Wednesday.

Pundits and supporters alike have been calling for great accountability following a raft of poor goals in games and subsequent apologies from PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited), and Brooks’s removal from duty will be seen as a fitting punishment for his error.

VAR drops a clanger at Selhurst Park

John Brooks was the VAR official for Crystal Palace’s 1-1 draw with Brighton at Selhurst Park at the weekend, where he disallowed a first-half goal by the Seagulls’ Pervis Estupinan for offside. However, it soon transpired that Brooks had drawn the offside line incorrectly and that Estupinan had not been offside at all.

Albion’s management and players were understandably incensed that such a basic error in the application of the system could be named, and they will have taken little solace from Brooks being removed from duty after the fact.

Replacing Books at Stockley Park on Monday evening will be Andre Marriner while David Coote will be handed the job on Wednesday to cover Arsenal’s showpiece showdown with Manchester City.

The Gunners fell victim to some poor remote officiating of their own at the weekend when they an offside goal scored by Brentford at The Emirates Stadium was allowed to stand.

The Bees struck an equalizer against Arsenal and held on for a 1-1 draw in North London that could have major implications for this season’s Premier League title race.

The VAR official that day, Lee Mason, forgot to draw the appropriate lines that would have shown that Christian Norgaard was in an offside position in the lead-up to Ivan Toney’s strike for Brentford.

Arsenal vs Brentford

PGMOL issues yet another apology

It has become something of a regular occurrence, however, PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) was forced to issue yet another apology after the Premier League’s weekend action, with both Arsenal and Brighton receiving messages of atonement.

In the apology, it read: ‘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.

In a feature examining the weekend’s events, Sky Sports News interviewed former Premier League match official Dermot Gallagher and asked him for his insight.

‘It’s a human error bought on by the fact that time is eating away and three minutes are an eternity to a spectator,’ Gallagher said.

‘Lee Mason made two checks and they were very comprehensive – it took three minutes.

‘It’s not panic, but it’s ‘I’ve taken three minute and haven’t found an offence, people are going to wonder why I’ve checked it so often’.

About the author

Simon Winter

Simon Winter is an Irish sports and betting writer with 10+ years in the game. His main passion is football and he is a Manchester United and Wexford FC supporter.