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Forest ‘Consider Options’ After Luton Town Fan Appointed VAR Official for Crucial Relegation Clash

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Nottingham Forest have confirmed they are ‘considering their options’ after a Luton Town supporter was placed in charge of VAR for the Tricky Trees’ crucial relegation six-pointer against Everton.

According to representatives from Forest, PGMOL – the Premier League’s department for match officiating – were ‘warned’ about the allegiance of Stuart Attwell, however refused to change the VAR allocation for the contest at Goodison Park.

And while there is no evidence to suggest that Attwell played a part in the outcome of the game, Forest were denied what they believe were three clearcut penalty decisions due to the ‘poor decision’ of those in charge of officiating.

Battle to the End

With their four-point deduction in place (pending an appeal), plus that defeat to fellow strugglers Everton, Forest remain deep in the relegation mire.

The English Premier League relegation odds make the Tricky Trees a 17/10 chance to face the drop, which is more comfortable than the situation that Luton (1/3) find themselves in.

But even so, the Midlanders would rather not be in any peril at all – a situation not aided by that loss at Goodison Park.

A handful of decisions in the game could have gone Forest’s way – in other games, VAR has intervened to award penalties for fouls or handballs in the 18-yard box not all that dissimilar to the ones not given in the encounter with the Toffees, with Ashley Young involved in two contentious tackles inside the penalty area and a possible handball.

When quizzed about those controversial moments after the match, Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo commented: “It is not only this game, it has been a while for poor decisions against us.”

Hence the extraordinary social media post that came from the club’s official X account immediately after the game, which is signed off with confirmation that Forest are now considering their options.

Quite what those options are remains to be seen – this would certainly be a first for the Premier League if the Tricky Trees launched a legal case demanding that the game be replayed, for example.

Calling It Down the Middle

There is, however, a rule that referees are not allowed to officiate games that involve the club that they support as a fan.

The regulations also cover games in which the club’s rivals are involved – so you can see why Forest are aggrieved that Attwell was awarded the Everton game given the situation at the bottom of the Premier League table.

The referees on the Premier League’s official rollcall have to declare which team they support. Michael Oliver, for example, is a Newcastle United supporter, so he is not allowed to officiate games featuring the Magpies.

Some of the EPL’s other key officials, including Andre Marriner (Aston Villa) and Craig Pawson (Sheffield United), are also on the exempt list for certain games.

Surely it won’t be long before VAR officials are also considered in this fashion, particularly with a number of the decisions they have to make being subjective in nature.

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