‘Just a tussle’ – Audio from VAR decisions that enraged Nottingham Forest released

Head of referees Howard Webb says a review should have taken place (Premier League)

Howard Webb, head of Premier League referees, says Nottingham Forest should have been awarded a penalty in their controversial game against Everton earlier this month.

Forest were furious to see three claims for penalties turned away at Goodison Park on 21 April, all involving Ashley Young. A challenge on Gio Reyna, a handball and a tackle on Callum Hudson-Odoi were all dismissed by on-field referee Anthony Taylor with video assistant referee Stuart Attwell not intervening.

Forest lost the game 2-0, later releasing an astonishing statement on X where they alleged Attwell is a supporter of their relegation rivals Luton Town.

In the third incident, referee Taylor judged Young to have played the ball with VAR officials Attwell and Simon Long believing there was not sufficient contact to overrule Taylor’s decision, also not recommending a pitch-side review.

Audio of the incident has also been revealed with Taylor heard calling ‘[he] plays the ball, plays the ball, looks like he plays the ball’ as VAR assistants conduct a penalty check.

Attwell describes the coming-together between Young and Hudson-Odoi as ‘mutual engagement’ between the two. He tells Taylor: ‘Before the playing of the ball but it is more of a tussle. What I am seeing here is no clear action by the defender.

‘Tayls [Taylor], confirm on-field decision of play on. Check is complete. Both players tussling for the ball. There is a degree of normal contact as they both play the ball in the same space.’

The incident was viewed as a ‘tussle’ by VAR (Picture: Getty)

Webb agreed decisions on the challenge on Gio Reyna and the handball incident were both the correct calls, insisting ‘both of those situations were in line with our expectations.’

Webb however said a VAR intervention should have been made over the third incident which would have ‘probably come out with a different outcome’ for Forest.

‘I understand why we would have preferred an intervention on this situation,’ Webb said.

‘The referee waves away the penalty appeal. The VAR looks at it and asks himself the question, ‘Was the non-award clearly and obviously wrong?’ and came to the conclusion it wasn’t.

‘You hear him describing two players tussling for the ball. He doesn’t see a clear action by Young that he considers to be worthy of intervention, one that reaches the threshold of being very clear.

‘But we would have preferred an intervention for the referee to go to the screen to make a judgement for himself in this situation and probably would have come out with a different outcome if that would’ve happened.’

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