Referee Lee Mason has departed Professional Game Match Officials Limited by mutual consent following his VAR blunder in the Arsenal-Brentford clash.
Mason caused controversy last weekend after failing to spot an offside in the build-up to Brentford’s equaliser against Arsenal and was subsequently not selected as a VAR for the next round of Premier League fixtures. A statement posted by PGMOL on Twitter 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.”
Mason’s mistake was not an isolated incident as John Brooks wrongly disallowed a goal for Brighton against Crystal Palace last Saturday too. 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.
“We ended the game, after analysing all the evidence that we’ve had with the images, with a huge anger and disappointment,” he said.
“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.”
Meanwhile, a Qatari consortium led by Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani has submitted a bid to buy Manchester United. The Qataris are the second group, after boyhood United fan Sir Jim Ratcliffe, to confirm a bid ahead of Friday’s soft deadline of 10pm.
A statement confirmed: “Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani today confirmed his submission of a bid for 100 per cent of Manchester United Football Club.
“The bid plans to return the club to its former glories both on and off the pitch, and – above all – will seek to place the fans at the heart of Manchester United Football Club once more.”
The Glazer family completed their controversial leveraged takeover at Old Trafford in 2005, a structure that did not endear themselves to United fans.
But the Qatari statement continued: “The bid will be completely debt free via Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation, which will look to invest in the football teams, the training centre, the stadium and wider infrastructure, the fan experience and the communities the club supports.
“The vision of the bid is for Manchester United Football Club to be renowned for footballing excellence, and regarded as the greatest football club in the world.
“More details of the bid will be released, when appropriate, if and when the bid process develops.”