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Former Premier League referee offers verdict on controversial decisions made in Huddersfield Town v Nottingham Forest play-off final

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Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has suggested that VAR got one big decision wrong in Nottingham Forest‘s play-0ff final victory over Huddersfield Town.

Despite not being used in the regular season nor the semi-finals of the competition, VAR was introduced for the final of the Championship play-offs on Sunday afternoon.

However, the use of the technology during the match has been called into question following two controversial decisions made during the 90 minutes.

The first of which was when Harry Toffolo went down inside the Nottingham Forest box with Jack Colback close by.

Referee Jon Moss booked Toffolo for a dive, and, despite some replays appearing to show contact between the Forest defender and the Huddersfield player, VAR did not intervene to overturn the decision.

That was also the case later on in the match, when Huddersfield had an even stronger claim for a spot-kick.

Lewis O’Brien appeared to be bundled to the ground from behind by Mx Lowe, once again inside the Forest box, but VAR failed to award a penalty despite what seemed to be clear contact being made.

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Speaking in his Mail Online column, Clattenburg said he can understand why the Toffolo incident was not overturned, but suggested that O’Brien should have been awarded a penalty.

“I can see why VAR Paul Tierney did not overturn Jon Moss’s decision that Harry Toffolo had dived in the penalty area. Did Forest’s Jack Colback make contact? The replays were inconclusive, so it was not a clear and obvious error.” Clattenburg wrote in his Daily Mail column.

“Huddersfield had more of a case with their second penalty claim.

“Lewis O’Brien fell under pressure from Max Lowe, who was accused of fouling him from behind. It was not the easiest thing to see in real time, so I do not blame Moss for letting play continue.

“VAR had the luxury of super slow-mo, and that did not look good for Lowe and Forest, but Tierney decided not to disagree with the retiring referee.”

Nottingham Forest, who were 1-0 ahead at the time of both incidents, held on to their lead until the full time whistle, earning themselves promotion to the Premier League.

The Verdict

What Mark Clattenburg is saying here is spot on, although the first one should also have been overturned, too.

It was one of those where if it was given as a penalty by the referee, VAR would not overturn it, but if it was not given, it wasn’t a strong enough claim to overturn – which is a bizarre situation in itself.

What cannot be denied, though, is that the second one on Lewis O’Brien was a clear foul and should have been a penalty.

O’Brien is clearly bundled from behind and although it may have been difficult for Moss to see in real time, VAR should have intervened.

Moss now hangs up his his whistle for refereeing retirement, but going out in such controversial fashion will not have been the scenario he would have envisaged when awarded his final game at Wembley.


BJTC accredited MA Multimedia Journalism graduate. Freelance Football Writer for FLW.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Former Premier League referee offers verdict on controversial decisions made in Huddersfield Town v Nottingham Forest play-off final

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