HomeFootball NewsNottingham Forest stand by Attwell statement, call for changes to PGMOL rules

Nottingham Forest stand by Attwell statement, call for changes to PGMOL rules

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Nottingham Forest have refused to back down amid the row over Stuart Attwell’s role as VAR for their Premier League defeat to Everton, calling for changes to rules regarding the appointment of match officials.

Forest issued a fiery statement after Sunday’s defeat at Goodison Park, where they saw three penalty appeals – all against Everton full-back Ashley Young – waved away by referee Anthony Taylor.

In that statement, they claimed VAR Stuart Attwell is a Luton Town fan and suggested the Hatters’ proximity to Forest in the table makes it inappropriate for him to officiate their games.

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Both the Football Association and the Premier League have pledged to investigate the statement, which has attracted widespread criticism from fans and pundits.

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville called it “embarrassing” and compared the club to a “petulant child”, also demanding the resignation of Mark Clattenburg, who is employed by Forest as a referee analyst.

After the Premier League confirmed it would investigate Forest on Monday, the club issued another statement, doubling down on their claims regarding Attwell and demanding changes to the way in which officials are appointed.

“Following yesterday’s match at Everton, NFFC issued a statement highlighting our concern at the perception of the PGMOL appointment of the VAR for the game,” the statement began.

“This was an issue we raised with PGMOL prior to the fixture because of the fear of the sideshow that would ensue if anything went wrong with officiating in the game.

“That fear has materialised, as the correctness of three important decisions against the club has been called into doubt. This is not about individuals but rather how the integrity of the game is seen.

“We know match officials do not allow outside factors to influence their decision-making and that all referees are required to declare their ‘allegiances’ to PGMOL to avoid any perceived conflict or harm to the game’s reputation for integrity.

“However, it is clear PGMOL must amend its rule on allegiances to account for contextual rivalries in the league table, not just local rivalries. This is currently not within the criteria but should be.

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

Forest – who have also submitted a request for the audio from the VAR hub to be made public – say they are intent on improving transparency around Premier League officiating.

“NFFC stands by its request for greater transparency around PGMOL appointments to further protect the game’s reputation, as intended in PGMOL’s existing approach to allegiances,” they said.

“Given the widespread and ongoing concerns – not merely of the fans, players and manager of this club but of many others too – over VAR decisions throughout this season, any move which boosts confidence in the system should be properly considered.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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