Paul Tierney lands VAR role but PGMOL denies it is punishment for referee

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Liverpool;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Liverpool</a>’s <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Caoimhín Kelleher;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Caoimhín Kelleher</a> claims possession after Paul Tierney incorrectly awards an unopposed drop ball at Nottingham Forest.</span><span>Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA</span>

Paul Tierney will not referee a ­Premier League game this weekend but will be on VAR duty for Arsenal v Brentford.

Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL), the referees’ body, says the appointment is not a punishment for his error in the buildup to ­Liverpool’s 99th-minute winner at Nottingham Forest last Saturday.

Related: Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Tierney, a top-flight referee since 2015, has refereed 22 Premier League matches this season and has operated as VAR on 23 occasions. He was VAR four times last month, most recently on 17 February for Burnley’s game at home to Arsenal.

Forest were left so incensed by Tierney’s failure to apply the laws correctly in the 97th minute, one minute and 50 seconds before ­Darwin Núñez’s headed winner, that their owner, Evangelos Marinakis, confronted the referee in the players’ tunnel minutes after the final whistle.

Forest’s first-team coach, Steven Reid, was sent off for venting anger at Tierney as the referee headed down the tunnel. In the aftermath of the goal, a supporter who ran on to the pitch from the Brian Clough Stand was restrained by the Forest defender Murillo after he made a ­beeline for Tierney.

Tierney wrongly handed the ball to Caoimhín Kelleher to restart play after a collision between the Liverpool goalkeeper and the defender Ibrahima Konaté. International Football Association Board (Ifab) laws state Forest should have been awarded a drop ball because Callum Hudson-Odoi, one of their players, was in possession when the referee halted play.

The restart did not lead directly to Liverpool’s winner, with Forest regaining possession before Núñez headed in Alexis Mac Allister’s cross. The Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp, highlighted how an almost identical decision went against his side earlier in the half when Forest regained possession from a drop ball after Harvey Elliott’s shot was blocked by Forest’s Ryan Yates.

Forest took the unprecedented step of making Mark Clattenburg, the former Fifa and Premier League referee recently hired by the club on a consultancy basis, available for interview and he was critical of Tierney’s performance. Clattenburg vowed to speak to PGMOL, his former employer, about the decisions.

Mike Dean, the former Premier League referee, told Sky Sports that Tierney made a “monumental error”. He said: “Unfortunately for Paul, it is a mistake and it is a bad one. It leads to a goal, eventually. There has been a big fallout and rightly so.”

Clattenburg sat next to Howard Webb, the chief refereeing officer at PGMOL, at Forest’s previous home match, last Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round defeat by Manchester United. Forest brought in Clattenburg as a referee analyst after being left aggrieved by a series of decisions this season.

Forest lodged a formal complaint with Webb and the Premier League after Ivan Toney’s controversial goal, when he moved the ball before scoring a free-kick, in a defeat at Brentford in January. Forest have submitted three official complaints to the league over refereeing decisions this season.

Sunny Singh Gill will make Premier League history this weekend by becoming the first British South Asian to referee a match in the competition. Singh Gill will take charge of Crystal Palace’s meeting at home to Luton.