Howard Webb has spoken to Brighton & Hove Albion and admitted the VAR should have awarded the Seagulls a penalty in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur, sources have told ESPN.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg stood on the foot of forward Kaoru Mitoma in the 70th minute when the score was locked at 1-1, but referee Stuart Attwell waved away the penalty appeals and the VAR, Michael Salisbury, didn’t intervene. Harry Kane won the game for Spurs nine minutes later.
– How VAR decisions affected every Prem club in 2022-23
It was one of a number of controversial calls at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, all of them going in favour of the home side. As well as Mitoma’s penalty claim, the Japan international had a goal ruled out for handball, as did teammate Alexis Mac Allister. The Seagulls also had two penalty appeals turned down against Clement Lenglet, one for handball and another for a shirt pull on Lewis Dunk.
Webb, the chief refereeing officer of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body responsible for match officials across English football, has promised greater openness and transparency over decision-making when clear errors occur. But this is the third time Brighton have received an apology this year.
Brighton were also on the end of a VAR error in their 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace in February when Pervis Estupinan‘s goal was ruled out for offside. PGMOL admitted this decision was wrong, with the offside line placed in the wrong position by the VAR, John Brooks, and the Hawk-Eye technology operator.
And in January, Liverpool midfielder Fabinho should have been sent off for his challenge on Brighton forward Evan Ferguson in an FA Cup tie but the VAR, Neil Swarbrick, took no action.
Brighton have been the worst-affected club in the Premier League this season, with only two VAR overturns in their favour and eight against.