Soccer-Forest request PGMOL release VAR audio from controversial Everton defeat


Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v Nottingham Forest - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2024 Everton's Ashley Young in action with Nottingham Forest's Callum Hudson-Odoi Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

(Reuters) -Nottingham Forest have submitted a formal request to referees' body PGMOL to make the audio recordings between officials during their 2-0 Premier League defeat by Everton public, the club said on Monday, after they were denied several penalty claims.

Forest, battling relegation, were angry over being denied three penalties at Goodison Park on Sunday against Ashley Young after the full back knocked the foot of Gio Reyna followed by a handball claim and a challenge on Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The Midlands club issued a strongly worded statement after the game on social media platform X accusing the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) Stuart Attwell of being a Luton Town fan.

"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," Forest said in a statement.

"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."

Having been docked four points for financial breaches, Forest are 17th in the standings with 26 points, four fewer than 16th-placed Everton, who have a game in hand. Luton are one place and one point below Forest in the standings.

LEAGUE INVESTIGATION

The Premier League said it was "extremely disappointed" to read the comments made by Forest on social media on Sunday. It added that an investigation into the club's statement is being conducted by them and the Football Association (FA).

"We note The FA has confirmed it will be investigating the club's statement." the Premier League said on X.

"It is never appropriate to improperly question the integrity of match officials, and the nature of these comments means the Premier League will also be investigating the matter in relation to the League's Rules."

Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo said after the match that it was hard take refereeing mistakes. Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg, who works for Forest as a referee analyst, described the decisions as a "joke".

"One of these errors would have been bad enough. 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," Clattenburg wrote in the Daily Mail.

The FA said on Monday: "We have formally requested observations from Nottingham Forest, Nuno Espirito Santo, (Forest defender) Neco Williams and Mark Clattenburg as a result of their comments following their Premier League match against Everton on Sunday 21 April."

Forest host reigning champions Manchester City on Sunday.

THIRD STATEMENT

Forest issued a further lengthy statement suggesting that the rules for referees declaring their "allegiances" to the PGMOL should consider not only local rivalries between teams but also contextual rivalries based on the current league table.

"This is not about individuals but rather how the integrity of the game is seen," Forest said.

"Mere reliance on match officials to recuse themselves if contextual rivalries exist invites conjecture, as some have recused themselves where others have not."

Forest said they stand by their request for more transparency around PGMOL appointments.

"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," they added.

(Reporting by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru;Editing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris)

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