Nottingham Forest demand release of VAR audio after controversial moments and accusing official of bias

Nottingham Forest have demanded the release of audio surrounding three controversial VAR (Video Assistant Referee) moments from their game against Everton after they accused an official of bias.

Over the weekend, the Midlands club fell to a 2-0 defeat to fellow relegation strugglers Everton, in a game that saw three of their penalty calls waved away.

Referee Anthony Taylor refused to point to the spot on each occasion, decisions approved by Stuart Attwell on VAR.

In the aftermath of the loss, Forest released a statement on social media accusing Mr Attwell of being a Luton fan - a club also embroiled in the relegation battle along with Forest.

They have now demanded that PGMOL, the body in charge of top-level football officials, release audio recordings around the three controversial moments.

Each involves veteran Everton player Ashley Young: first with his challenge on Giovanni Reyna in the 24th minute, the ball striking his hand in the 44th minute and then a challenge on Callum Hudson-Odoi in the 56th minute.

Nottingham Forest said: "Nottingham Forest has today submitted a formal request to the PGMOL to release into the public domain the audio recordings between officials during yesterday's match against Everton at Goodison Park.

"The club has requested this be shared for three key match incidents.

"We firmly advocate for the broader football community and supporters to have access to the audio and transcript for full transparency, ensuring the integrity of our sport is upheld."

Young posted on X a picture of Justin Timberlake's hit song 'Cry Me a River' with the caption: "Old Skool Tunes For Today".

This came after the club described the decisions as "extremely poor" and they called Mr Attwell "a Luton fan".

Nottingham Forest claimed they had contacted PGMOL prior to the game, to ask that Mr Attwell be taken off VAR duties.

However, PA have since reported that Mark Clattenburg, the club's referee advisor, contacted Howard Webb, the head of PGMOL, to share that Nuno Espirito Santo, the Forest manager, might be asked about Mr Attwell's appointment to the game at a press conference.

They asked about this but didn't request Mr Attwell's appointment was changed or express any issues they had with him, PA reported.

After Nottingham Forest's allegations, a former Premier League referee pushed back at the claims.

Dermot Gallagher, on Sky Sports News's Ref Watch, said: "I don't know what his [Stuart Attwell's] role is, it's difficult for me to say.

"What I do know, is that Stuart Attwell is one of the VARs used week-in, week-out in the Champions League. He must be regarded as a very integral part of the system.

"You don't do that if you're not capable and making mistakes on a regular basis. People may question his decision but it's not right to question his integrity."

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In a statement, the Football Association said that they were investigating the incident.

They said: "We have formally requested observations from Nottingham Forest, Nuno Espirito Santo, Neco Williams and Mark Clattenburg as a result of their comments following their Premier League match against Everton on Sunday 21 April. We will provide any further updates in due course."

Following that, the Premier League themselves released a statement in which they said they were "extremely disappointed to read the comments made by Nottingham Forest on social media".

They added: "We note The FA has confirmed it will be investigating the club's statement. It is never appropriate to improperly question the integrity of match officials, and the nature of these comments means the Premier League will also be investigating the matter in relation to the League's Rules."

Following the game, Clattenburg wrote a column for the Mail in which he repeated the claim that Mr Attwell was a Luton fan and called the penalty decisions a "joke".

However, the statement, and Clattenburg's own column, have not gone down well with all in the footballing world.

Ex-pro-turned-pundit Gary Neville called for Clattenburg to resign and said the club's statement was "like a petulant child".

The former Manchester United defender said: "Mark Clattenburg must resign tonight. If he saw those words go out in that question the integrity of a referee and claims someone is a cheat for supporting another club, then he's supporting what is being said.

"He would lose all credibility with referees in the game. He should stand down tonight and distance himself from that statement.

"The statement is like a petulant child. It's embarrassing."

In a further statement released this evening, Nottingham Forest reiterated their stance and said: "This is not about individuals but rather how the integrity of the game is seen."