Premier League launch Nottingham Forest investigation as owner Evangelos Marinakis requests VAR audio

Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis at the City Ground this season

The Premier League has launched an investigation into Nottingham Forest’s bitter row with the Professional Game Match Officials Limited after the strugglers made a formal request for the VAR audio from their defeat at Everton.

Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis is said to be “raging” at the decisions of referee Anthony Taylor and the VAR official, Stuart Attwell, after his club were denied three penalties in the match at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Marinakis and the Forest board were stunned when Taylor failed to award three penalties, with particular anger over the third decision when Taylor did not spot a foul on Callum Hudson-Odoi by Ashley Young, and was allegedly not instructed by Attwell to review the incident on his monitor.

Forest believe the audio from the incidents will clear up any unanswered questions and assist in their next move, which could even include legal action.

Yet the Football Association has asked Forest’s head coach Nuno Espirito Santo, defender Neco Williams and the club’s consultant Mark Clattenburg for their observations as the fall-out from the defeat continues.

The Premier League has also admitted they are “extremely disappointed” with Forest’s post on X, previously known as Twitter, when they outlined their concerns over Attwell and alleged he was a fan of relegation rivals Luton Town shortly after the final whistle.

“The Premier League was extremely disappointed to read the comments made by Nottingham Forest on social media yesterday, following its match against Everton,” their statement read.

“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.”

Nottingham Forest winger Callum Hudson-Odoi goes down under challenge from Ashley Young
Forest believe they should have had a penalty for a foul on Callum Hudson-Odoi by Ashley Young - Getty Images/Dave Howarth

In a day of statement and counter-statement, Forest revealed they had submitted the request for the audio recordings between officials at Everton to be put in the public domain.

Their request follows a similar move by Liverpool in October when they asked for the VAR audio after the failure to award Luis Diaz’s goal in their defeat at Tottenham.

“Following yesterday’s match at Everton, NFFC issued a statement highlighting our concern at the perception of the PGMOL appointment of VAR for the game,” Forest posted on social media.

“This was an issue we raised with PGMOL prior to the fixture because of the fear of the side show that would ensue if anything went wrong with officiating in the game. That fear has materialised, as the correctness of three important decisions against the Club have been called into doubt. This is not about individuals but rather how the integrity of the game is seen.

“We know match officials do not allow outside factors to influence their decision-making and that all referees are required to declare their ‘allegiances’ to PGMOL to avoid any perceived conflict or harm to the game’s reputation for integrity.  However, it is clear PGMOL must amend its rule on allegiances to account for contextual rivalries in the league table, not just local rivalries. This is currently not within the criteria but should be.

“Mere reliance on match officials to recuse themselves if contextual rivalries exist invites conjecture, as some have recused themselves where others have not. NFFC stands by its request for greater transparency around PGMOL appointments to further protect the game’s reputation, as intended in PGMOL’s existing approach to allegiances.

“Given the widespread and ongoing concerns, not merely of the fans, players and managers of this Club but of many others and the pundits too, over VAR decisions throughout this season any move which boosts confidence in the system should be properly considered.”

FA concerned about Nuno’s post-match comments

Mark Clattenburg is understood to have spoken with PGMOL chief Howard Webb last Friday morning to outline the club’s concerns.

Clattenburg has been appointed by the east Midlands club as an advisor and was in the stands for Sunday’s controversial encounter.

The former Premier League referee is facing possible sanctions for claiming in a newspaper column that the decisions were a “joke”.

In a statement on Monday, an FA spokesperson 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.”

Telegraph Sport understands the FA have concerns over Nuno’s comments in the wake of Sunday’s defeat, and in particular his claim that “if we were in another country we will start talking about conspiracy”.

Williams, the Wales international, alleged that “top-six sides would get all three penalties” in a post-match interview.

On Wednesday, Forest will begin their appeal hearing as they contest the four-point deduction for breaching Profitability and Sustainability rules.

Forest were docked the points last month but have appealed and remain hopeful of having the punishment reduced.