Premier League: Brighton penalty decision was wrong

Friday, 8 November, 2019 59comments  |  Jump to last

Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

In a revelation that will come as no consolation to Everton, the Premier League have admitted privately that the penalty awarded by Video Assistant Referee against Michael Keane at the Amex stadium a fortnight ago should not have been given.

VAR official Lee Mason recommended that the on-field referee on the day, Andy Madley, reverse his initial assessment that Michael Keane had accidentally impeded Aaron Connolly, handing the Seagulls a controversial spot-kick and a path back into a match they went on to win with a stoppage-time Lucas Digne own goal.

Everton were angered by what was a widely criticised decision but have, without any recourse, had to abide by it and Marco Silva's side were harshly affected by yet more dubious officiating from Stockley Park in last Sunday's 1-1 draw with Tottenham.

Dele Alli's handball in the area met all the requirements under the new rules surrounding handball but, despite a lengthy VAR review, no penalty was given. Richarlison was also involved in two contentious incidents that might also have resulted in penalties but neither was reviewed.

The news of the Premier League's acknowledgement, as reported by outlets like The Telegraph, of Mason's error came out of a meeting between the northwest Premier League clubs and Mike Riley, head of Professional Game Management Officials Limited, the body that oversees match officials in English football, where grievances over the problems with the implementation of VAR and potential fixes were aired.

“[The mistakes were] so clear in the last three or four games and we are talking about it costing us five or six points,” Marco Silva said to the print media ahead of that meeting with PGMOL. “Where would we be with those points? I don't have any doubts that we would be performing on a different level if we had those points.

“Every team in the world plays with more confidence when it is higher up the table. Now we are not in the position we want, I am not happy with the position we are in, but I know things would be completely different if football was fair with us. We deserved more but it is done and I can change nothing.

“It was so clear and now we go into another must-win game — and every game is a must-win game for us — when we would have had more freedom and confidence had we been higher in the table.”


Reader Comments (59)

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Ian Linn
1 Posted 09/11/2019 at 01:09:53
I wasn't opposed to VAR being introduced but the execution in the last 2 or 3 weeks has been poor. Seems like there's some fundamentals that haven't been worked out. Room for a lot of improvement.
Mark Guglielmo
2 Posted 09/11/2019 at 01:16:55
As I've (tried to) say in 2 other threads, lol, there is simply no credibility to this story. Or as it more accurately should be called, clickbait opinion piece.

"Have admitted privately" says all that needs to be said. In the U.S. this would be called an "anonymous source" and no credible outlet would ever run with it. Until you can definitively state the who, what, where, why, and when, and cite confirmed sources, it may as well be made up. Which appears to be the norm for British dailies? I'm really astonished by how much credence is given them.

Before anyone thinks, or says, what I suspect they might, let me share that I have a Bachelors of Arts degree in Journalism from the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College (Google it!)

I do not work as a journalist.
But I fully understand how journalism works.

This isn't it. Your mileage may vary, but I'm hoping this is the first post! 🤞🏼

Tony J Williams
3 Posted 09/11/2019 at 02:26:30
Oh that's okay then. As long as the admit they buttfucked us after the event.

What about the Spurs game?

Lyndon Lloyd
4 Posted 09/11/2019 at 02:27:11
Mark, your American journalism credentials won't be of much use when it comes to sport reporting of this nature in Britain. This isn't clickbait, it's from The Telegraph, one of the more reputable newspapers (not that they don't occasionally bait for clicks) and Chris Bascombe is one of the trusted northwest correspondents.

He will have got his information from the source but it's rare that sources are specifically identified. Usually, they go with the line “The Telegraph/Sky Sports/The Athletic understands...” which is journalistic shorthand for “this came from the horse's mouth” or someone close to the situation.

In this case, Bascombe will probably have spoken with contacts at Everton and they will have passed on the info that during the meeting with PGMOL, the PL acknowledged a mistake was made at Brighton. And, really, it's not far-fetched — it was a terrible decision and everybody knows it.

Mark Guglielmo
5 Posted 09/11/2019 at 02:46:44
That's so odd to me, Lyndon. I've never really paid attention to how this is done in the UK, other than ignoring transfer rumors lol. Even in your well-articulated explanation to me, you use words like probably. It just seems like there's such an air of uncertainty about how they report things. That is very different than here for sure!

As for the why/why not, it didn't seem likely to me that the EPL would admit or acknowledge anything was wrong since they presumably rubber stamped the use of VAR in the first place, or didn't they? In other words, I didn't know they understood the concept of 'mea culpa.' Hilariously they omitted any comments around why VAR isn't working but I digress...

Ernie Baywood
6 Posted 09/11/2019 at 03:35:13
It's not that private, Mark. It's a football club and the head of referees. Plenty of sources involved there.

Jay Harris
7 Posted 09/11/2019 at 03:52:19
Mark, are there any credible outlets in the US.

According to the world's most powerful man, it's ALL fake news.

I hate to criticise an industry that you are attached to but the days of honest journalism are over.

It is now all about sensationalism and clickbait.

Bill Gienapp
9 Posted 09/11/2019 at 04:26:35
Great. Can we have the points back???

I still contend, if not for the VAR bullshit, we would have seen out that victory. Brighton were offering nothing going forward and playing with little self-belief. That penalty changed everything.

Denny Kerr
10 Posted 09/11/2019 at 05:07:50
Sorry Mark (#2 ) but you have to be joking.

"No credible outlet would ever run with it."

I live in the US, and journalism is long dead here. Fake news, unnamed sources, and agenda-driven articles are all we have left.

I dare say, its the same in the UK.

Bobby Mallon
12 Posted 09/11/2019 at 06:55:55
Hard luck stories, ifs and buts, they don't help. What will help is taking chances having more shots and playing as we did against West Ham every game.
Andrew Presly
13 Posted 09/11/2019 at 06:58:17
As usual with us, it's too little too late.

There would be a Truth & Reconciliation Committee set up if this happened to “other clubs”. There'd be tearful Norwegian guys chaining themselves to railings and if they got the Alli decision a week after possibly self immolating on the streets of Oslo.

We just get told something we knew was wrong in nanoseconds was wrong a fortnight later, the points long gone. Great! Why don't you give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice in it while you're at it?

What new, cruel and usual way are we going to find to not win this week? Depressing Everton!

Justin Doone
14 Posted 09/11/2019 at 06:59:40
Going back to the World cup there were many decisions that I disagreed with and yet most media folk commented on it being a success.

Until full communication around all the rules and decisions are made public, its will continue to cause controversy.

There is now a 'mystery' person deciding in-game decisions, over-ruling referees without referees being able to review such decisions.

Who is in charge of officiating matches, who's accountable for errors and mistakes?

Is you ask players, managers, coaches, referees and their assistants to explain their understanding of VAR and how it works on specific incidents you would get a dozen or more different answers. This can't be right.

Sam Hoare
15 Posted 09/11/2019 at 07:54:04
We've had some rotten luck this season for sure and Silva is right that confidence always breeds better performance.

The Brighton match was especially unfortunate as we had just put in our best game of the season against West Ham and without that dubious penalty I think we'd have won our first away match in a while, completed our first comeback under Silva and moved 6 or so places up the table with some forward momentum.

Silva desperately needs a positive run but may have to make his own luck.

Ken Kneale
16 Posted 09/11/2019 at 08:11:44
sam - your right. The only way out is to use this to galvanise the team and turn in some winning performances. Anything else is simply surrendering to the situation
Lyndon Lloyd
17 Posted 09/11/2019 at 08:18:36
Mark (5), what I meant was that will have spoken to someone at that meeting and that it was "probably" someone at Everton rather than from the PL or PGMOL but *I* don't know for certain.
Paul Birmingham
18 Posted 09/11/2019 at 08:34:11
Erring on the positives for the future, may be this will. Lead to increased training and diligence by the match day cow boys who manage this VAR system?
With the technology available their should be a central HQ at the FA with a dedicated VAR team purposely set up to decide these descisions if the referee can't decide.

This is no consolation to EFC and if the Brighton balls up is been belated decided it was a wrong call, then surely the Spurs descision should follow suit.

God help us today as the old adage things happen in threes some times does happen.

Let's hope today we get a good referee, no spineless gut less coward like Atkinson, and absolutely smash Southampton today. No mercy.

Not many great days of late down there but we had a few good wins, at The Dell. I was there for Sharpies 4, in1987, and beating them 3-2, 1985, and telling the J xxxxhouse Case, to get to, after that game. Happy days.

So today our plight is very, very serious. Simple as, we must win. Let's hope the injustices and the injury to André, galvanise and spur on the team today.

Never before have we needed a good result, as after Norwich, it's as tough couple of months of fixtures as we could get.

Martin Nicholls
19 Posted 09/11/2019 at 09:30:31
Prior to the introduction of VAR a number of individuals, two overseas fans in particular, championed the use of the system and told us how good it would be for our game. These views were largely based on technology's use in various US sports. I for one, having witnessed a VAR ruined game in Portugal, felt it's introduction here would spell disaster for all but the few favoured clubs. I've seen nothing to change my opinion - those who championed VAR's introduction have been largely silent in recent weeks on the matter in the light of recent events. Scrap it!
John Pickles
20 Posted 09/11/2019 at 09:39:45
Marco, maybe if you got your players to consider every game a 'must win' game, we might actually compete in the odd tournament. The successful teams only play 'must win' games.
Mike Benjamin
21 Posted 09/11/2019 at 09:57:45
VAR is not the problem but the incompetent referees who are operating it. Lee Mason is a crap referee on the pitch so we shouldn't be surprised when he makes the wrong decisions when operating VAR. Current referees should not be making the VAR decisions. As the saying goes “they all piss out of the same pot”.
Joey Crawley
22 Posted 09/11/2019 at 10:08:29
VAR will be responsible for as many mistakes as the auld system, it's just a guy looking at a screen interpreting what he has seen, just like the auld days, a guy, his opinion and a decision. Just like the auld days it will all equal out by the end of the season. Silva coming out crying like a little girl that VAR has cost us 5-6 points and could cost PL mangers their jobs, his Job, was just his bloody blinded excuses for his complete failure as a man manager, he may have some sort of football knowledge rattling around in his skull but when the going gets tough the Silva just jellyfies, look at Big Sam, may not have had the flair to play a blinder, but he kicked all the muppets Koeman was mollycoddling up the Ahole and ground out an 8th place. If we go down to the Saints today I wanna see Silvas head roll by tomorrow, or we're going to the Championship and Bramley More is going up in smoke, Pooooof!
Frank Sheppard
23 Posted 09/11/2019 at 10:11:21
VAR is definitely not the problem, it's the muppets making the decisions during the game. It's also the muppets that made the rules about when it can be used. Case in point Norwich v Man Utd. VAR gives two highly debatable penalties, both saved by a keeper 2 feet off his line when the kicks taken, but that was not reviewed. Justice, but justice via lunacy. Embarrassing.
Mick Conalty
24 Posted 09/11/2019 at 10:14:26
I notice that TW started in 1994. This coincides with the demise of EFC. No offence but maybe TW and EFC are both cursed. Spooky.
John G Davies
25 Posted 09/11/2019 at 10:21:39
They have both suffered problems from a leadership point of view Mick.
But that's for another day
Chris Gould
26 Posted 09/11/2019 at 10:47:14
It was always frustrating being on the end of incorrect decisions by refs or linesman in 'real time' when they had only one opportunity to get it right. However, you could begrudgingly accept the decision because it's incredibly difficult to get tight decisions right at breakneck speed and with bodies in the way.
It's completely incompetent and unacceptable to make the wrong decision when you view the incident a dozen times from five different angles in slow time. VAR has become a joke because it's being run by morons.
Kevin Molloy
27 Posted 09/11/2019 at 10:55:43
god those comments from Silva stink with losing. Has he been taking lessons from Mike Lyons? If he says before the next game 'Someone's gonna get a thumping, our luck's gotta turn sometime' then prepare for the worst
Les Mallinson
28 Posted 09/11/2019 at 11:09:03
Frank 23
You beat me to it, nothing wrong with VAR, I was 100% in favour.
It's the a s who are operating it, and on the pitch. The refereeing gets worse every season and how that c... atkinson is still allowed to ref !!!
I watch youth football as much as I can, I see young refs with no linesmen getting 99 % of decisions correct.
So are these highly paid officials who like to think they're more important than the game, inept, bent, biased or all of these.
After supporting EFC for 45 years, i'm getting out, I packed the ciggys in, so hopefully can do the same with pro football, sick of officials and been pissed off most w-ends.
Feel very sorry for the lads I know who go home & away, hope they have a better journey home today.
Frank Crewe
29 Posted 09/11/2019 at 11:21:32
VAR is really only any good for deciding narrow offsides. It puts the lines on the pitch and we can all see who is offside and who isn't. When it comes to just about everything else it has simply become a second referee. Decisions have become a matter of opinion. Slow motion, different camera angles yet it still comes down to whomever is looking at the screen in the VAR booth just as it is with the ref on the pitch. Three or four minutes of humming and harring just to come up with the same wrong decision the ref made in the first place.
As I said just use it for the narrow offside decisions and leave everything else to the ref on the pitch. It's not perfect but at least it cuts down on the wasted time waiting for a VAR decision and only gives the fans one bone of contention to moan about instead of the extra VAR one's as well.
Ken Kneale
30 Posted 09/11/2019 at 11:46:08
Kevin 27 that is because he is a loser and Everton will pay a very heavy price for appointing him. He needs removed without any further delay but our directorship appears paralysed.
Brian Hennessy
31 Posted 09/11/2019 at 12:04:58
I'm seriously considering cancelling my Sky subscription, mainly because VAR is ruining the game, along the the fact that streaming quality has become so much better.

Watching us struggle near the bottom of the table doesn't help either I suppose.

Ernie Baywood
32 Posted 09/11/2019 at 12:09:22
I'm another who is in support of video assistance for referees.

But that's not what the PL implemented. They're doing exactly what the anti VAR crowd were scared of - they're re-refereeing the game from a TV screen. So instead of consistency, they get massive inconsistency. It's not good for fans, teams or even referees.

Again, any football fan could see what they were doing wrong and what would happen. Somehow they couldn't see it.

VAR isn't the problem, it's the total incompetence around our game.

Alan J Thompson
33 Posted 09/11/2019 at 12:24:21
This in fact had nothing to do with VAR it was just that the on-field referee changed his mind. I have this on good authority well, when I say good authority, I heard a voice in my ear...hang on, that is VAR, say no more.
Jay Wood

34 Posted 09/11/2019 at 12:42:55
Martin @ 19.

If you're looking for recent posts on VAR I recommend you take a look at last Sunday's match day thread.


Scroll down to Pat Finegan's excellent post @ 358. It got 'lost' in the many issues that naturally preoccupied TWers following that game.

Indeed, @ 413 I flagged Pat's post up to the editors suggesting it merited it's own thread, such was the quality of Pat's submission on a very hot topic.

They chose not to do so. A missed opportunity, I feel, as thoughts about VAR are fragmented across many different threads when they could have been concentrated under one dedicated thread on the subject.

And Pat, if by chance you read this, may I congratulate you again on the excellence of your post I reference.

Terry McLavey
35 Posted 09/11/2019 at 12:58:29
I agree with the comments about poor refereeing, the game has moved on but the standard of refereeing hasn't. To me, a lot of the referees look too old and out of shape, experience counts for nothing when you can't keep up!

You can't tell me that these decisions would have gone against the "golden ones" in the top six? Are these people accountable to anyone in their boys club?

I also believe there is a refereeing bias against us, but I would, wouldn't I ?

Habib Erkan Jr
36 Posted 09/11/2019 at 13:20:36
Very Aggravating Rubbish
Habib Erkan Jr
37 Posted 09/11/2019 at 13:28:00
Football in its purest form is the expression of beauty and truth through conflict. VAR, like most technology, sucks the humanity out of art that takes our focus away from the contest itself.
Eric Myles
38 Posted 09/11/2019 at 14:20:34
Frank #28, the VAR review does not overturn the refs decision, the ref can disregard it.


Unfortunately the refs seem to not apply common sense as in the Keane non-penalty.

Martin Nicholls
39 Posted 09/11/2019 at 14:32:37
Jay#34 - thanks for the link. It most certainly "got lost" in other issues as I hadn't seen It. I still haven't had time to properly digest everything that Pat writes, so for the moment I should perhaps just say that in an ideal world, I might welcome VAR although I'd much prefer reviews to be limited to the onfield ref looking at a pitchside monitor and deciding for himself. Immediate problems, most if not all of which others have already highlighted are :
(1) general incompetence of most if not all of our officials. Referring specifically to the Brighton incident, how is it possible for a review of what is supposed to be a clear and obvious mistake itself result in another mistake (now seemingly acknowledged) being made?
(2) I think most would agree that in any PL match involving one of the "Sky Six", decisions including those made with the assistance of VAR are invariably skewed in favour of the media favourite. Officials, including VAR officials, are afraid of ruling against these teams for fear of the backlash which could result in them being demoted from their lucrative PL job. I think it was Uriah Rennie who was unceremoniously demoted to the Championship after a complaint by rs to PL about his performance - ironic now to hear Klopp pontificating about managers losing their jobs because of dodgy VAR calls!
(3) we will never see replays at grounds of the incidents under review as there is an unshakeable resolve within the FA/PL not to show "controversial incidents". Indeed, some grounds (including our o!d ground and Old Trafford) do not have the facility to show such replays.

In summary, I would repeat that VAR might work in PL if we lived in an ideal world and played the game on a level playing field, however we don't and never will. For those reasons I remain "anti_VAR.

Shane Corcoran
40 Posted 09/11/2019 at 14:37:56
I think it was a penalty.
Eric Myles
41 Posted 09/11/2019 at 14:41:41
Care to elaborate Shane?
Shane Corcoran
42 Posted 09/11/2019 at 14:42:44
Keane stood on Connolly's foot inside the penalty area, Eric.
Martin Nicholls
43 Posted 09/11/2019 at 14:53:11
Re my post#39 - apologies, it was Rob Styles rather than Uriah Rennie who was demoted after rs complaint against him. He was also forced to apologise to them. Little wonder refs are biased toward these media favourites.
Karl Meighan
44 Posted 09/11/2019 at 14:59:15
So how long is Lee Mason banned for then? If the gobshite cannot be trusted with hundreds of cameras infront of him to make a decision then how can he possibly be trusted to take charge on the pitch.
Mike Dolan
45 Posted 09/11/2019 at 15:04:59
VAR is just the first step in creating gaps in the play where the television masters who now own the game can slot in 30 second ads. Next we will have ‘time outs' and the flow of the beautiful game will be irreparably disrupted forever.
James Stewart
46 Posted 09/11/2019 at 15:11:56
I made a point of looking at non Everton orientated opinion after the Keane penalty decision and it was curious how a lot of media such as the guardians football podcast agreed with Shane that it was a penalty. I don't think it was personally but nor do I think it was as clear cut “never a pen” as many fellow blues.
Ernie Baywood
47 Posted 09/11/2019 at 17:17:26
Penalty or not is a matter of opinion. And that's the point.

The referee said no penalty. His opinion, in a game where it's his opinion that matters. To overturn that it needs to be a clear and obvious error. And it wasn't. So no, it wasn't a penalty.

I wouldn't mind if the referee looked at his monitor and gave it. Obviously I'd disagree with the decision but I've disagreed with plenty of decisions over the years. Then we could get back to blaming referees instead of people in a bunker.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
48 Posted 09/11/2019 at 17:34:53
So the redress?

We get a dodgy penalty on the 4th December. Take that as an apology.

Kase Chow
49 Posted 09/11/2019 at 19:36:32
I think it's frustrating and annoying that it was given as a pen.

But the penalties not given at Brighton or against Spurs were far worse in my opinion.

It was mentioned earlier that one could forgive referees in the past for not spotting something on one view but the operators of VAR have no excuse whatsoever

How was the Alli pen not given? How was the foul on Richie not given?

It's absolutely maddening and frustrating and is putting me off football

Rob Hooton
50 Posted 09/11/2019 at 19:57:14
VAR corruption is rife, it will only get worse as the money men control what you can see. I hate it already, poor Sheff Utd today
Rob Hooton
51 Posted 09/11/2019 at 20:03:08
Mark G, first post.

That's great that you have a degree but a favourite saying of my dads springs to mind:

He can spell marmalade but he can't open the jar.

I don't mean any malice, just a gentle dig!

John Raftery
52 Posted 09/11/2019 at 21:02:07
VAR in its current form should be scrapped. It will never be applied consistently for matters of judgement and certainly not by the dummies who currently comprise the the Premier League list of referees. Matters of fact such as determining if the ball has crossed the line are different.

Where technology can provide the answer it should be used. The goal line decisions are fine. They are instant and impartial.

Martin Nicholls
53 Posted 09/11/2019 at 22:07:14
Another ludicrous VAR call favours Spurs (one of the media six) again today.
Karen Mason
54 Posted 10/11/2019 at 12:26:07
I still don't understand why on the pitch refs don't go to check the screen on the side of the pitch, to check it themselves. What is their aversion to doing that?

I am a supporter of technology in sport. In my own sport, which is probably one of the fastest team games with a ball - Hockey - we have technology and it in no way slows down the game. It does provide, in almost every case I've seen, the fair and correct decision.

Football could also take lessons from Rugby and tennis, in which technology works perfectly in those sports too.

But then, it's pretty clear by many many other things connected with footy, that sadly for us passionate fans, it is run, in the main, by morons.

My last observation would be that if players themselves stopped cheating and trying to con the ref into giving pens, the sport would improve beyond limits and VAR would be virtually unnecessary. STOP THE CHEATS I say!

Jon Withey
55 Posted 10/11/2019 at 15:16:50
It's really been putting me off football - VAR.

I caught the international Rugby with England and it reminded me just how much standing around and waiting there is in Union - not a fluid game like football used to be.

However, with VAR the game suddenly got very pedantic and technical - they still get decisions wrong - and now there are all new bizarre decisions like the Keane one which may well be technically correct but make no sense in the context of what is happening on the pitch.

The fluidity and passion has somehow been dampened.

Ray Smith
56 Posted 10/11/2019 at 15:20:52
Although not a VAR issue and slightly off thread.

I'm watching Wolves v Villa when the ball goes out for a Villa goal kick.
However, Wolves player Coady is sitting on the pitch taking an eternity to put his boot back on and lace it up, and the ref waits until he gets up before restarting the game!


Rob Marsh
57 Posted 10/11/2019 at 17:35:17
I was a 50/50 where VAR was concerned and willing to give it a chance, but I've just been watching the Liverpool v Man City game and now I want VAR gone.

Another blatant stone-cold handball, as obvious as the Dele Alli one by Liverpool, there's no point having all this technology if it's wankers doing the live review of it.

Karl Meighan
58 Posted 11/11/2019 at 09:28:49
They can talk until there blue in the face it should be removed more games this weekend have had poor wrong decisions from var. If the refs aint going to use the pitchside monitors which is the only thing I thought might work then remove them and the rest of the cameras.
Rob Halligan
59 Posted 11/11/2019 at 09:58:09
It's Mike Riley who's been telling referees not to use the pitch side monitors, to "prevent additional delays". I bet if the pitch side monitors were used, it would cut these stoppages in half.

Anyway, it now looks as though Riley has changed his mind, and will encourage referees to start using the pitch side monitors

Mark Dunford
60 Posted 11/11/2019 at 10:57:16
This is simply telling us something that everyone who was at the ground - Brighton and Everton - knew at the time. It changed the game completely and gifted Brighton a win when an Everton victory looked more likely.

I'm not a Silva fan, but no denying he hasn't had any luck with VAR decisions or injuries in past month.

Richard Pike
62 Posted 11/11/2019 at 17:52:15
Neil Swarbrick, who is in charge of Premier League VAR implementation, has declared himself happy with it. It deserves 7 out of 10, apparently, reports the BBC Sport website.


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