Brighton seek explanations as referee chief apologises for penalty mistake
Brighton & Hove Albion are seeking explanations from referee chiefs regarding as many as five controversial decisions that went against them during their defeat to Tottenham on Saturday.
The meeting at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium promised to be a tightly-fought contest, with both Spurs and Brighton pushing for European qualification.
A win for the Seagulls would have taken them to within a point of fifth-place Spurs in the table, but a 2-1 win for the hosts ensured there is now a seven-point gap between the two sides.
A superb strike from Son Heung-Min opened the scoring, before Harry Kane sealed the win late on after Lewis Dunk had drawn Brighton level.
However, Brighton were left fuming at the full-time whistle after several key decisions went against them, some of them incorrectly so.
After Roberto De Zerbi's side had two goals harshly chalked off for handballs, Kaoru Mitoma appeared to be tripped inside the penalty area by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Referee Stuart Attwell waved play on, and despite reviewing the incident, the VAR also decided that the trip was not worthy of a penalty.
As reported by BBC Sport's Simon Stone, the chief of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) - the body responsible for Premier League referees - Howard Webb contacted Brighton to personally apologise for the error, admitting that a penalty should have been awarded.
Now, according to talkSPORT, Brighton are seeking clarification from referee chiefs over as many as five decisions made during the match.
⚠️Shocking refereeing - Spurs - Brighton— 🇳🇴 kimmoFC (@kimmoFC) April 8, 2023
One of the worst refereeing I've seen all season Seriously, this is a scandal
I'd like to believe it's just incompetence, but with one team benefiting week after week it's looking more and more like a biased gamepic.twitter.com/DwqtfG8J1W
The Seagulls are also not satisfied with the explanation for manager De Zerbi's second-half red card, which was given for 'failing to control his bench'.
VAR has been in use in the Premier League for a few years now, but this season errors in its implementation appear to have become more frequent.
Former Premier League referee Howard Webb was brought in by PGMOL to try and sort out the issues, and he has been taking a hard line on officials who make costly mistakes.
One high profile victim has been Mike Dean. The former referee took up VAR duties this season, but he has not been assigned a match for over two months now.
With the final weeks of the season fast approaching, there's a very real possibility that which teams qualify for Europe and which are relegated could be impacted by VAR mistakes.