Premier League make Newcastle United ‘controversial’ call after Man City star’s ‘fume’

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The match officials appointed for Newcastle United v Brentford has sparked a little controversy.

A VAR official who made an error in his last Premier League game has been selected as fourth official for Newcastle United v Brentford on Saturday evening (kick-off 5:30pm).

Teesside-based Tony Harrington will be on the touchline after avoiding punishment for what PGMOL chief Howard Webb described as an error in awarding a goal to Manchester City in their 5-1 victory over Fulham on September 2.

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Harrington and assistant VAR Adam Nunn checked and cleared Nathan Ake’s goal to make it 2-1, despite Manuel Akanji standing in an offside position. Man City striker Erling Haaland even admitted he thought the goal should be disallowed and he would be “fuming” if he was a Cottagers player.

Referee Tony Harrington. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)Referee Tony Harrington. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Referee Tony Harrington. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Addressing the incident on ‘Match Officials: Mic’d Up’, Webb said: “From the outset I want to say I think this should have been disallowed, this goal. It certainly appears that Akanji has an impact on Bernd Leno, the goalkeeper, who seems to hesitate.

“The officials on the field gave the goal. They didn’t see an obvious action that impacted Leno’s ability to play the ball. They see Akanji moving slightly away from the ball to let it past him. There’s a flick out of the foot but that’s after the ball has passed.

“When the VAR and AVAR [assistant VAR] checked that situation, they saw that same retraction away from the ball. They didn’t feel that that was clearly impactful on Leno’s ability to play the ball. But you can see that hesitation by the goalkeeper, who is waiting to see if the ball makes contact with Akanji, which would have deflected the ball.

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“So we think it’s a clear situation of offside. Unfortunately, it wasn’t identified on the day, and, of course, the learning from this one will also be shared amongst all of our group because we’re always looking to do better each and every week, and this was an error.”

Accompanying Harrington at St James’ Park is Craig Pawson as referee with assistants Lee Betts and Marc Perry. On VAR duty is John Brooks and assistant VAR James Mainwaring.

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