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Howard Webb ‘starting to suspend officials’ as Mark Clattenburg piles pressure on chief | Football | Sport

Former Mark Clattenburg has claimed that PGMOL chief Howard Webb has started to suspend officials behind the scenes for making costly errors. He also called for football fans to be given ‘answers’ on why some decisions can be made by VAR so quickly yet others are time-consuming.

West Ham were at the heart of controversial decisions this weekend, with David Moyes’ side seeing two goals ruled out against Aston Villa for handball. After Michail Antonio’s opener, the Hammers striker saw his second goal chalked off after replays showed that his contact with a cross was with his hand rather than his chest.

Nicolo Zaniolo then equalised for Villa late on, though West Ham thought they had won it with the last chance of the game. A dangerous delivery from James Ward-Prowse was diverted towards goal by Konstantinos Mavropanos, prompting a goal-mouth scramble which saw Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen both attempt to bundle the ball over the line.

Their efforts appeared to have paid off to send the London Stadium into a frenzy, only for supporters to see another goal ruled out. A VAR check lasting five minutes and 37 seconds eventually saw referee Jarred Gillett instructed to attend his pitch-side monitor before he announced that Soucek deliberately handled the ball before it crossed the line – prompting furious protests from West Ham.

Clattenburg, recently hired by Nottingham Forest in a referee analyst role, has since spoken out on the decisions made and felt that the time that it took for the checks to be completed on the last-minute goal were too long. He told the Daily Mail: “Both VAR decisions at West Ham were correct because the ball touched the arm before going in the goal.

“But five minutes is a long time in football. If you are looking at it for a minute, two minutes, and you haven’t made a decision, we need to move on. PGMOL under Howard Webb have started to suspend people for making mistakes. His predecessor Mike Riley never did that publicly. Webb has, and the VARs now are so scared to make a mistake that they take as much time as they can.”

The 49-year-old went on to question the quality of the technology being used at Stockley Park as that Soucek’s VAR check was long-winded due to the officiating team struggling to find the very best camera angles. Clattenburg continued: “The second one at the end, involving Tomas Soucek, should have been easier for the VAR to quickly rule out. Was it handball? Different angles suggested different things. The VAR was trying to find the best angle to give the right decision and that’s why there was such a delay.

“Take the incident in Luton v Nottingham Forest, Teden Mengi’s clear handball. We moved on within 30 seconds. So why were we looking at the Soucek one for five minutes? Is the technology at fault or are the officials not being given the right angles? We need answers.”

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