EPL

VAR official Mason leaves his role after Arsenal-Brentford blunder

By Sports Desk February 17, 2023

Video Assistant Referee (VAR) Lee Mason has left his role "by mutual consent" after his blunder cost Arsenal a win against Brentford last weekend.

The Gunners were held to a 1-1 draw in a London derby last Saturday, though Ivan Toney's equaliser should have been disallowed.

Toney headed in from close range after Christian Norgaard nudged the ball across the face of goal, but the latter had been offside in the build-up.

The goal went to a VAR check for a separate incident instead, with Mason – in charge of the technology for the game – not spotting Norgaard strayed just offside.

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body responsible for referees in England, subsequently acknowledged it was a "significant error" and Mason was not assigned to a match for the coming weekend.

PGMOL then revealed on Friday that Mason has left his position with immediate effect.

A statement read: "PGMOL can confirm that Video Assistant Referee Lee Mason has departed the organisation by mutual consent.

"Lee was a Premier League referee for 15 years and oversaw 287 top-flight matches during that time, with his last coming during the closing stages of the 2021-22 season.

"His full career in the professional game saw the 51-year-old officiate in over 500 fixtures after he progressed to the Football League in 1998.

"We would like to thank Lee for his dedicated service to the professional game and wish him all the best for the future."

It was not Mason's first high-profile error of the season, having denied Newcastle United a winner against Crystal Palace in September when ruling out Tyrick Mitchell's own goal for what he deemed to be a foul by Joe Willock on Vicente Guaita in the build-up.

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