Forest call for PGMOL to release VAR audio in Everton defeat

Nottingham Forest have written to refereeing body PGMOL to request the release of the VAR audio from Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Everton which saw them have three penalty appeals denied, the club said in a statement on Monday.

Forest had slammed PGMOL for ignoring their concern that the VAR for Sunday’s defeat, Stuart Attwell, was a supporter of Luton Town — a club who, alongside Forest, are battling against relegation from the Premier League.

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Referee Anthony Taylor waved away three claims for a penalty, the most notable of which came in the second half when Callum Hudson-Odoi was seemingly brought down by Everton defender Ashley Young.

Forest faced backlash from fans and pundits for releasing the furious statement after the match, saying they “simply cannot accept” the officating team’s decisions. However, the club doubled down on Monday and requested that PGMOL release the audio between the on-field referee and the VAR booth at the officiating group’s Stockley Park headquarters.

Monday’s statement read: “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.

“The club has requested this be shared for three key match incidents — Ashley Young’s challenge on Giovanni Reyna (24th minute), Ashley Young’s handball (44th minute) and Ashley Young’s challenge on Callum Hudson-Odoi (56th minute).

“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.”

The Football Association (FA) confirmed on Monday it would investigate Nottingham Forest’s initial complaints, while the Premier League responded to Forest with a statement of its own.

“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.”

Forest posted on X again on Monday to clarify their position and call for a rule change within PGMOL.

“Following yesterday’s match at Everton, NFFC issued a statement highlighting our concern at the perception of the PGMOL appointment of VAR for the game,” it said. “This was an issue we raised with PGMOL prior to the fixture because of the fear of the side show 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 have 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.”

Having been docked four points for financial breaches in March, Forest are 17th in the standings with 26 points, four fewer than 16th-placed Everton, who have a game in hand. Luton are one place and one point below Forest in the standings.

Forest host reigning champions Manchester City on Sunday.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.