Premier League match hit by another ’embarrassing’ VAR debacle

An English Premier League referee’s performance has been labelled “embarrassing” after he allowed a free kick that led to a goal, then disallowed the goal, then allowed it again before the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) stepped in.

Brighton and Hove Albion’s Lewis Dunk said referee Lee Mason’s decision in their 1-0 Premier League loss at West Bromwich Albion was “horrendous”.

Down a goal after 11 minutes, Dunk netted in the first half with a quick free kick that caught out West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, but Mason denied the goal before reversing his decision, only for VAR to intervene and disallow Brighton’s equaliser for good.

As the free kick was getting lined up, Mason was standing right next to Dunk, who said he asked the referee if he could take the free kick and that was when Mason blew his whistle.

Dunk poked the ball into the bottom right corner, but Mason blew his whistle again as the ball was crossing the line, prompting Brighton players to surround him.

After appearing to get word through his earpiece, Mason then awarded the goal, before going to VAR, which overturned the decision.

The league said the referee’s decision was overturned as he had blown his whistle a second time before the ball had crossed the line.

Referee Lee Mason watches a screen on the sidelines of a Premier League match. Brighton manager Graham Potter watches on.Referee Lee Mason watches a screen on the sidelines of a Premier League match. Brighton manager Graham Potter watches on.
The VAR debacle may not have been quite as big a deal if Brighton had not also missed two penalties in the game.(AP: Peter Powell)

“It’s embarrassing, it’s a horrendous decision. I said to the referee, ‘Can I take it?’ He blew his whistle and I took it. Just because there was so much pressure from the bench,” Dunk told Sky Sports.

“Why doesn’t he come and speak to the press like me? Never, they hide behind their bubble.

Dunk can likely expect a fine, similar to one received by Wolverhampton manager Nuno Espírito Santo in January.

After a 2-1 loss to Burnley, Santo said Mason was not up to Premier League standard and it cost him 25,000 pounds.

“The referee doesn’t have quality to whistle a game in the Premier League,” he said.


“It’s not about the crucial mistakes or the decisions, it’s about the way he handles the game. He whistles by the voices [of players], when some players shout.

“He cannot control the players.”

Brighton boss Graham Potter said his side did not help their own cause by missing two penalties, although the decisions of the officials became the talking point at the Hawthorns.

“The confusion is on the pitch and it gets worse when someone outside this area is making the decisions,” Potter said.

“It is what it is. We’ve not helped ourselves with the two penalties so I cannot put it all down to that (disallowed goal).”