Lee Mason has quit the officials’ organization PGMOL and will no longer work on Premier League games as VAR following Arsenal blunder.
In his 15 years as a Premier League official, Mason presided over 287 games in the top division. His final match was in the waning moments of the 2021/22 season.
However, the 51-year-old has twice been removed from a round of Premier League matches after high-profile mistakes while serving only as a VAR this season.
The first occurred when he overturned a Newcastle goal against Crystal Palace in September 2022.
After failing to draw the lines and identify Christian Norgaard’s offside position as the Brentford player provided the assist for Ivan Toney’s late equalizer at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, he was then given a similar punishment.
PGMOL later issued an apology for the error, which Mikel Arteta, the manager of Arsenal, deemed “not acceptable.”
The blunder, according to him, cost Arsenal two points.
Manchester City’s draw with Brentford helped them get within three points of Arsenal at the top of the Premier League, and after beating the Gunners on Wednesday night, Pep Guardiola’s team passed them.
“We ended the [Brentford] game, after analysing it with the evidence and images, with a huge anger and disappointment,” Arteta lamented in a Press conference before Man City match which they lost 3-1.
“Because that wasn’t a human error. That was a big, big, big not conceiving and understanding your job. That’s not acceptable, I’m sorry. And that cost Arsenal two points and that’s not going to be restored.”
On Friday of last week, PGMOL announced that Mason had voluntarily departed the company.
The 51-year-old referee, who advanced to the Football League in 1998, officiated in more than 500 games throughout the course of his whole professional career.
In a statement, PGMOL said: “We would like to thank Lee for his dedicated service to the professional game and wish him all the best for the future.”
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has admitted that the 1-1 draw between Brentford and Arsenal was a result of a “major error in the VAR procedure” that led to the offside goal being given.
VAR did not properly explore this. They looked for a block, but missed Christian Norgaard’s offside.
Was VAR incident caused by negligence or human error?
The examination took two minutes and 26 seconds.
With claims that the VAR was rushed into missing the Norgaard offside incident by focusing too long on the earlier Pinnock incident, the Brentford check was not particularly lengthy when compared to the two minutes and one second for the VAR check at West Ham for Tomas Soucek’s disallowed goal for a Declan Rice offside.
Lee Mason, a former official from Bolton in Greater Manchester, was born on October 29, 1971.
Mason was a Select Group Referee who officiated in the Premier League from 2006 until 2021.
Mason is a member of the Lancashire County Football Association and a past chairman of the Bolton Referees’ Society.
Mason started using the whistle in the Bolton Boys’ Federation League in 1988.
He had previously been employed by the automobile rental business.
He was added to the list of assistant referees for the North West Counties Football League in 1992, and four years later he was promoted to referee in that league.
He was added to the Premier League assistant referees list in 2000 after first appearing on it in 1998 for The Football League.
Mason ended his on-field responsibilities at the end of the 2020–21 season, but beginning with the 2021–22 campaign, he started working exclusively as a video assistant referee in the league.
By mutual agreement, Mason resigned from this job on February 17th, 2023.