The FA and Premier League break silence on Nottingham Forest's VAR outburst

The FA and Premier League break silence on Nottingham Forest's VAR outburst

The Football Association is demanding explanations from Nottingham Forest after their extraordinary outburst against the officiating in their defeat to Everton.

The Premier League club claimed to have warned PGMOL, the body which oversees officiating in English football, over Stuart Attwell’s apparent allegiance to relegation rivals Luton before he took charge of VAR for their 2-0 defeat at Everton.

Forest were controversially denied a trio of penalty appeals at Goodison Park, two for tackles by Ashley Young and another for a potential handball by Young.

A furious club statement was posted on their X/Twitter account moments after the full-time whistle, which the FA want answers for, as well as further comments by manager Nuno Espirito Santo, defender Neco Williams and club advisor Mark Clattenburg.

“We have formally requested observations from Nottingham Forest, Nuno Espirito Santo, Neco Williams and Mark Clattenburg as a result of their comments following their Premier League match against Everton on April 21,” read an FA statement.

“We will provide any further updates in due course.”

A statement from the Premier League added: “The Premier League was extremely disappointed to read the comments made by Nottingham Forest on social media yesterday, following its match against Everton.

“We note The FA has confirmed it will be investigating the club’s statement. 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.”

Anthony Taylor came in for criticism in Sunday’s game (Getty Images)
Anthony Taylor came in for criticism in Sunday’s game (Getty Images)

Forest were expected to be investigated for questioning Attwell’s integrity after Sunday’s game.

They stated: “Three extremely poor decisions - three penalties not given - which we simply cannot accept.

“We warned the PGMOL that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game but they didn’t change him. Our patience has been tested multiple times. NFFC will now consider its options.”

A further comment on Monday added: “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 ... 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.”

Forest boss Nuno also stated his anger with referee Anthony Taylor and VAR official Attwell after Everton went four points clear of Forest, who possess only a one-point lead over 18th-placed Luton.

“It's a formal complaint,” he said. “Every club is entitled to do it if they feel that they are not comfortable. The PGMOL decide the other way.

“If Stuart Attwell is not a fan of Luton, that doesn't matter. That doesn't matter in the end of the day. That doesn't matter. He's there to do his job.

“In starting with Anthony Taylor today, he did a bad job and VAR did a bad job because the decisions are bad. I'm telling you after we lose a game everybody will say, 'Okay look at the manager, look he's getting excuses' - No it's not an excuse, it's the reality.”

Wales international Neco Williams told Sky Sports: “Listen, it’s three clear, blatant penalties. Everyone watching that game knew they were all penalties. They are clear.

“Every single week this happens now. We are getting decisions against us. I don’t know why. Is it because we are a lower bottom half of the table team? Because I guarantee all the top six teams are getting every single one of them.

“I know every single person watching that game today knew all three of them were clear, blatant penalties. It is ridiculous. It is week after week now we are getting these decisions against us.

“I am not here to make excuses; I am not that type of person. But every week it is something, and I don’t know what it is. It needs to stop, because it is three clear, blatant penalties.”

According to a PA News Agency report, Forest had not asked Attwell to be taken off VAR duties for the Everton game. It is claimed that the club’s referee analyst Clattenburg, a former Premier League official, warned PGMOL chief Howard Webb that manager Nuno could be quizzed on Attwell’s appointment before the game. No questions were asked and no further discussions are said to have taken place.

After the game, Clattenburg wrote in the Daily Mail: “I would not have risked this situation if I were the head of the referees and all of this could have been avoided had the PGMOL simply made smarter appointments. Referees do not make mistakes deliberately but this was mind-boggling to watch. Why Attwell did not send Taylor to his screen, only he will know.”