PGMOL confirm VAR operator Lee Mason has left the organisation by ‘mutual consent’

News Desk
Lee Mason

Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has confirmed that video assistant referee Lee Mason has left the organisation by “mutual consent”.

Mason caused controversy last weekend after failing to spot an offside in the build-up to Brentford’s equaliser against Arsenal.

Christian Norgaard appeared to be in an offside position before providing an assist for Ivan Toney to level the score for the Bees, who went on to take a point at the Emirates.

Mason had not been selected as a VAR for the next round of Premier League fixtures taking place this weekend, and PGMOL confirmed in a statement on Friday night that the referee had departed.

The statement said: “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.”

Mason’s mistake was not an isolated incident as John Brooks wrongly disallowed a goal for Brighton against Crystal Palace last Saturday too and the errors prompted chief refereeing officer at PGMOL Howard Webb to contact Arsenal and Brighton, as well as call a meeting of all Premier League officials at Stockley Park on Tuesday.

With Mason’s decision allowing Brentford to equalise, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta described the error as unacceptable.

He said: “We ended the game, after analysing all the evidence that we’ve had with the images, with a huge anger and disappointment.

“That wasn’t a human error, that was a big not conceiving and understanding your job and that’s not acceptable, I’m sorry.

“That costs Arsenal two points that’s not going to be restored. We’re going to have to find those two points somewhere in the league.

“At the same time we appreciate the apology and the explanations and we got a lot of sympathy from colleagues in the industry and in football who say that we cannot play the game with the integrity like we do. That’s it. We have to move on.

“It’s not for me to judge. It’s not about someone making a mistake and then let’s crucify him.

“It’s trying to do the best that we can together to have a fairer sport and make the decisions clearer and better. Hopefully that will help because of what happened last weekend.”

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