We need to know if Stuart Attwell is a Luton fan – but Forest went too far with statement

Stuart Attwell
Stuart Attwell has become embroiled in a controversy after being the VAR in Nottingham Forest's loss to Everton - Getty Images/Richard Pelham

At the start of the Premier League season, the PGMOL have a list of every team each referee supports. They declare the team they support and this is stored on a list that the PGMOL has on record.

If Stuart Attwell does indeed support Luton – as Nottingham Forest claimed after their defeat by Everton in which they had three penalty appeals turned down – then this is a question of management of the PGMOL.

Officials should not be in charge of matches of teams they support, nor in matches that would directly have an effect on their team’s hopes.

We all know who Mike Dean supports – Tranmere. That was very clear and of course, he never managed matches involving Tranmere and if Attwell supports Luton, then of course he should not be in charge of their matches, or be the VAR.

It works at the other end as well – no official who supports Arsenal, Manchester City or Liverpool should be in charge of their games.

It would be beneficial to have some clarity as to who Attwell supports because if it is found he supports Luton, then this opens up a can of worms for the Premier League, the FA and the teams fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table.

Rarely does a team raise this in such a way and I can understand that Forest doing so would raise some eyebrows. Clubs cannot dictate who they have in charge of their matches. Jamie Carragher said Nottingham Forest acted like a fan in the pub with their claims and there is some truth to that as it was an extraordinary statement.

I am not here to question Attwell’s integrity. I am, though, here to question his competence in this fixture and that of Anthony Taylor, the referee at Goodison Park.

There is no doubt in my mind that Nottingham Forest have a legitimate claim that they should have been awarded three penalties in this game.

With three incidents in one game with all three legitimate claims for a penalty to be awarded, there is a question mark about the officials’ competence.

The first was a challenge from behind and contact was made with the legs of his opponent who went to ground. This is a careless challenge and anywhere on the field is a foul. It is inside the penalty area so a penalty kick should have been awarded.

I have said before that handball offences are in many cases subjective. While players use their arm for balance where the hand/arm moves towards the ball and comes into contact with it then this should result in a penalty kick.

The third incident was again a clear penalty. What is happening to our referees and VAR why are they getting it so wrong?

Leadership is required at the top of the game and for the coaching regime of our referees, and VAR. Howard Webb coming in to oversee things has not had the desired improvement.

That said, there are ways to express your concerns and disappointment and on reflection, Nottingham Forest may perhaps feel they could have gone about it in a better way.