The brutal departure of Lee Mason showed how ruthless Howard Webb will be in his battle to lift the standards of Premier League refereeing – and it will only be the start as VAR faced another day of criticism.
Mason left his role as a VAR by ‘mutual consent’ less than a week after The Mail on Sunday revealed he failed to draw offside lines on Ivan Toney’s controversial equaliser at Arsenal.
Yet such swift, decisive action was not enough to quell the tide of fury towards VAR Saturday.
Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi slammed Premier League officials as ‘not good enough’ and even accused head of referees Webb of wasting his time after being sent off in the tunnel after his side’s 1-0 defeat to Fulham.
Webb visited Brighton to explain last weekend’s howler at Crystal Palace when VAR drew offside lines on the wrong defender and incorrectly disallowed a Brighton goal.
Roberto De Zerbi accused referees chief Howard Webb of wasting his time in a recent meeting
Lee Mason left the Premier League by ‘mutual consent’ on Friday as revealed by Sportsmail
‘I didn’t like the attitude of the referee, I think he’s not a good level of referee,’ said De Zerbi of Saturday’s official Darren England. ‘But I think the referee in Premier League is not enough for this very important league.
‘I told the referee that this week I had a meeting with his boss and I lost time. I lost two hours, three hours with him.’
Quite the change in tone from when De Zerbi discussed his meeting with Webb during in his press conference on Friday when he said: ‘He is a good guy, he’s an honest person and I appreciate that he showed his face. When there is a mistake, it’s not easy to show your face.’
‘I told him there is no problem for me, my players, or my club. We don’t want to put any pressure on referees.
‘Referees are human like other people and can make mistakes. I don’t like if I have to criticise them because it is not my job.’
Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper was also left fuming after he claimed Joe Worrall was ‘kicked in the face’ in the build-up to Bernardo Silva’s opener for Man City.
‘The VAR let the referee down,’ said Cooper.
It comes a week after what insiders called ‘the worst day of VAR’ in the Premier League since its inception four years ago that led to 51-year-old Mason paying the price for his huge blunder.
Mason missed the crucial offside that could still have a huge say in the Premier League title race, one of six errors he had made as a VAR in this season alone.
Howard Webb visited several top-flight clubs after multiple VAR errors last weekend
The last mistake proved the final straw as Sportsmail revealed Mason had left his position before the PGMOL released their statement on Friday night.
The straight-talking Yorkshireman hauled all officials to Stockley Park after the disastrous weekend. Webb was infuriated by the mistakes and it’s understood it was a difficult atmosphere inside Stockley Park as it quickly became apparent obvious errors had been made.
Webb, who cuts an imposing figure at 6ft 2in, has moved fast in his task to raise standards and reduce mistakes since replacing Mike Riley as head of referees and has quickly implemented the honesty and openness he was praised for at Major League Soccer.
John Brooks, the VAR at Palace, was swiftly removed from VAR duty for the Merseyside derby and the top-of-the-table clash between Arsenal and Man City but returned as fourth official yesterday for the Gunners win at Aston Villa.
Webb sat Mason and Brooks through a video workshop, watching back footage of the key incidents from their game to ensure such mistakes don’t happen again.
Brooks, however, was not completely to blame. It’s a technician who draws the lines before it is presented to the VAR.
De Zerbi was shown a red card by referee Darren England in the tunnel after his side lost 1-0
Top-flight officials have responded positively to Webb’s up-front approach, with one Premier League referee describing him as a ‘class act’.
For all of last week’s shambles, Webb’s approach has been seen as a positive in football circles amid a feeling that such honesty and speed of action would not have happened under Riley.
Webb knows there’s still a long way to go to improve the standards. There’s no secret formula or magic wand to wave. It’s still the same group of referees. And manager like De Zerbi and Cooper still feel they are being let down by the officials.
But it starts with a change of culture. And Mason’s departure shows that Premier League officials under Webb cannot afford to keep getting things wrong.
Source of data and images: dailymail
The post Lee Mason exit shows how ruthless Howard Webb will have to be in fixing Premier League refereeing first appeared on Elrisala.
The brutal departure of Lee Mason showed how ruthless Howard Webb will be in his battle to lift the standards of Premier League refereeing – and it will only be the start as VAR faced another day of criticism. Mason left his role as a VAR by ‘mutual consent’ less than a week after The …
The post Lee Mason exit shows how ruthless Howard Webb will have to be in fixing Premier League refereeing first appeared on Elrisala. Sports – Elrisala