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Nottingham Forest to get access to VAR audio after penalties furore

Nottingham Forest will be given the opportunity to privately hear the VAR audio related to three rejected penalty claims in their 2-0 Premier League defeat at Everton on Sunday.

Relegation-threatened Forest called on Monday for the audio between Stuart Attwell and on-field referee Anthony Taylor to be released publicly.

Sources close to referees body the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) said it has nothing to hide and will give Forest the opportunity to hear the audio in private, as it would any other club making a similar request.

The audio related to a wrongly disallowed Luis Diaz goal for Liverpool at Tottenham earlier this season was released publicly, but in that instance there had been a serious communication error so the matter was treated differently.

Forest have risked Football Association and Premier League punishment over their strong response to the three rejected penalty appeals.

The club said in a statement on Sunday they had “warned” PGMOL that VAR Attwell “was a Luton fan” but that PGMOL did not change the appointment.

Luton are one of Forest’s direct rivals in the battle to avoid relegation.

The Premier League said it was “extremely disappointed” by the statement, adding it was “never appropriate to improperly question the integrity of match officials”.

The league said it was investigating the matter in relation to rules governing the requirement on clubs and their officials to behave with utmost good faith.

Forest released a further statement on Monday evening calling for the rules around referees’ allegiances to be updated to account for “contextual rivalries in the league table”.

Referees already declare allegiances and will not be assigned that team’s matches, or certain other fixtures such as those involving direct local rivals of that club. 

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag criticised Forest’s approach when asked about the issue at a press conference on Tuesday.

“You can’t do that,” said Ten Hag. “You can agree, you can disagree.

“The handball from (Aaron) Wan-Bissaka (in United’s FA Cup semi-final against Coventry) is wrong, a mistake, but you can’t question, so I will not do. It’s not good for the game. We should respect the referee and this is no respect.”

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