‘Sack Lee Mason’ – Ex-Premier League ref calls for Webb to axe VAR operator after Arsenal blunder

Ex-Premier League referee Keith Hackett believes VAR official Lee Mason should be sacked after he failed to rule out Ivan Toney’s goal against Arsenal.

The PA news agency understands Mason did not fully investigate an offside decision against Brentford’s Christian Norgaard during the build-up to Toney’s leveller during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Hackett’s call to Professional Game Match Officials Limited chief Howard Webb comes amid fresh controversy surrounding the implementation of VAR with Chelsea and Brighton also aggrieved at controversial decisions which went against them.

The former official said in a Twitter post: “Howard Webb is now in charge of the PGMOL. One of the first things he should do is dismiss permanent VAR operator Lee Mason.

“This weekend, Mason lets another referee down by not disallowing the Brentford goal for offside. These are decisions that VAR should get right.”

The Gunners were leading courtesy of Leandro Trossard’s strike when Toney headed home from close range after Norgaard had turned the ball back across goal.

After a lengthy delay, referee Peter Bankes was advised to award a goal, much to the annoyance of Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and his players.

PA understands a block from Brentford defender Ethan Pinnock on Gabriel Magalhaes as Mathias Jensen swung a free-kick into the box was checked and cleared, but also that VAR official Mason did not fully investigate an offside call against Norgaard with no lines drawn on the screen to determine whether the Denmark international should have been penalised.

Arteta’s misgivings were matched by those of Chelsea counterpart Graham Potter, who saw his side denied a late penalty at West Ham as they were also held to a 1-1 draw having earlier had two “goals” correctly ruled out for offside.

Defender Tomas Soucek appeared to handle Conor Gallagher’s shot inside the area in his attempt to make a block, although referee Craig Pawson was not advised to review his decision not to award a penalty by VAR official Neil Swarbrick.

Bemused Blues boss Potter said: “I thought it was a good save. It looks like a handball to me. I didn’t know Tomas could get down that easily and save like that. But it’s not for me to say about VAR.”

Brighton too had cause for complaint after their 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace, during which they saw a first-half strike by Pervis Estupinan disallowed following a review.

VAR John Brooks ruled that the Ecuador international was offside, but television pictures later suggested the line had been drawn incorrectly from James Tomkins rather than fellow Palace defender Marc Guehi, who appeared to be playing him on.

The Seagulls confirmed on Sunday that thy had received an apology from PGMOL for “a serious error”.

A spokesman said: “As was confirmed to the club by PGMOL last night, a serious error was made in disallowing Pervis Estupinan’s goal at Crystal Palace yesterday afternoon.

“The lines drawn in the VAR room to determine whether Pervis was in an offside position were drawn incorrectly, and the goal should have stood.

“While hugely disappointed by the error, the club has accepted PGMOL’s apology and will not be making any further comment.”

READ MORE: ‘Kind fixture list’ and three more reasons Arsenal are top of the Prem in title challenge that wasn’t…

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