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Forest double down and demand refereeing rule changes from PGMOL

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Nicolas Dominguez of Nottingham Forest reacts during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park on April 21, 2024 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Nicolas Dominguez of Nottingham Forest reacts during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park on April 21, 2024 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Nottingham Forest doubled down on their discontent with the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) last night, demanding rules must be changed to stop officials from working on matches which involve teams battling for league position with clubs they support.

It comes after the Premier League club accused VAR Stuart Attwell of being “a Luton fan” after the club were denied three penalties in their 2-0 loss to Everton on Sunday.

Yesterday the Premier League said they were disappointed in Nottingham Forest, while the Football Association demanded observations from former referee Mark Clattenberg, as well as his employer Forest, after the series of events that unfolded after the defeat.

Forest statement

The club said yesterday: “Following yesterday’s match at Everton, NFFC issued a statement highlighting our concern at the perception of the PGMOL appointment of VAR for the game. This was an issue we raised with PGMOL prior to the fixture because of the fear of the side show that would ensue if anything went wrong with officiating in the game. That fear has materialised.

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“This is not about individuals but rather how the integrity of the game is seen.

“It is clear PGMOL must amend its rule on allegiances to account for contextual rivalries in the league table, not just local rivalries. This is currently not within the criteria but should be.

“Mere reliance on match officials to recuse themselves if contextual rivalries exist invites conjecture, as some have recused themselves where others have not.”

The FA have asked for observations from the club, their manager Nuno Espirito Santo, player Neco Williams and ex-referee and Forest match and performance analyst Clattenburg.

And the Premier League said it was “extremely disappointed to read the comments made by Nottingham Forest on social media yesterday, following its match against Everton.

Investigation

“We note The FA has confirmed it will be investigating the club’s statement. It is never appropriate to improperly question the integrity of match officials, and the nature of these comments means the Premier League will also be investigating the matter in relation to the League’s Rules.”

An FA spokesperson said: “We have formally requested observations from Nottingham Forest, Nuno Espirito Santo, Neco Williams and Mark Clattenburg as a result of their comments following their Premier League match against Everton on Sunday 21 April.

“We will provide further updates in due course”.

It marks the latest twist in the saga following a result which leaves Nottingham Forest teetering on the edge of the relegation zone.

The club are 17th in the Premier League table, having earlier in the season been docked points for breaking spending rules, and are just one point above Luton Town in 18th and three ahead of Burnley in 19th.

Forest are appealing their points deduction.