Lee Mason leaves PGMOL by ‘mutual consent’ after error in Arsenal game
Lee Mason has quit his role as a Premier League VAR after a costly blunder that saw Arsenal miss out on a win over Brentford.
Mason spent 15 years as a top-level official, having started his refereeing career in 1996, but retired from that role in the summer of 2021.
He then became the Premier League’s first dedicated Video Assistant Referee, but has faced anger from Arsenal in recent weeks after making a mistake which cost them what would have been a crucial win over the Bees.
He failed to spot that Ivan Toney’s equaliser should not have stood, with Christian Norgaard having clearly been offside in the build-up to the goal.
He was subsequently stood down by the Professional Game Match Officials Board, with the organisation now announcing Mason has quit his job altogether.
A statement from the PGMOL reads: “PGMOL can confirm that Video Assistant Referee Lee Mason has departed the organisation by mutual consent.
“Lee was a Premier League referee for 15 years and oversaw 287 top-flight matches during that time, with his last coming during the closing stages of the 2021/22 season.
His full career in the professional game saw the 51-year-old officiate in over 500 fixtures after he progressed to the Football League in 1998.
“We would like to thank Lee for his dedicated service to the professional game and wish him all the best for the future.”
The Premier League had announced their displeasure with Mason’s work following his blunder in the Arsenal game. They confirmed they had requested the PGMOL “review and explain” a number of decisions.
“The Premier League sets high standards and is disappointed that PGMOL fell below those expectations last weekend. As a result, the Premier League requested that PGMOL review and explain a number of incidents from the recent match round,” a statement read.
“Following discussions with PGMOL, and yesterday’s Select Group One review meeting, we support PGMOL’s views on addressing these issues to improve performances going forward.”
Mason oversaw 257 games during his career as a Premier League referee, but was one of the officials summoned to Stockley Park by PGMOL boss Howard Webb in response to the raft of blunders that have been made by match officials in recent weeks.
While Gunners manager Mikel Arteta ‘accepted’ Webb’s apology over Mason’s blunder, the Spaniard insisted he would not apology for his comments criticising the quality of the refereeing. And earlier this week he took a swipe at Mason.
Arteta said: “There was huge anger and disappointment because that wasn’t human error, that was a big misunderstanding of your job. That is not acceptable, I’m sorry. It cost Arsenal two points, we’ll have to find those two points somewhere else in the league.” Mirror