‘VAR is a Luton fan’: Nottingham Forest hit out at penalty decisions after defeat

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Nottingham Forest;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Nottingham Forest</a>'s Morgan Gibbs-White remonstrates with referee Anthony Taylor.</span><span>Photograph: Peter Powell/Reuters</span>

Nottingham Forest took aim at the video assistant referee Stuart Attwell after their 2-0 defeat to Everton on Sunday, claiming they should have had three penalties during the match. The social media post said that Attwell was a Luton fan – they are battling with Forest for Premier League survival – and that the club asked for him to be removed from the fixture beforehand.

“Three extremely poor decisions - three penalties not given - which we simply cannot accept,” Forest said on their official X account. “We warned the PGMOL that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game but they didn’t change him. Our patience has been tested multiple times. NFFC will now consider its options.”

The FA is understood to be investigating the post by Forest.

Related: Gueye and McNeil drag Everton closer to safety and leave Forest in the mire

Forest were left fuming about three incidents involving Ashley Young. First he was accused of clipping Giovanni Reyna but that was waved away, then Callum Hudson-Odoi and Young were at the centre of two more potential penalty decisions either side of the break. The winger’s cross struck Young’s arm but the proximity meant neither Anthony Taylor nor Attwell intervened.

In the second half, Hudson-Odoi looked to get inside the full-back to reach a pass, only to go down under a challenge from Young. There was some doubt over the legality of the tackle but Taylor and VAR agreed that the evidence was insufficient.

Nuno Espírito Santo, the Forest manager, said: “I share the feeling of the club because it is not only this game, it has been a while for poor decisions against us. It is not an excuse but we are not comfortable with the referees.

“I am aware of the complaint that the club was not comfortable with the VAR but the PGMOL decided another way,” Nuno said of Forest asking Attwell to be stood down. “It is not important if he is a fan of another club or not. The VAR is sitting down in a chair, they have time to assess the images. I would just like to understand the why, why we have always been on the end of bad decisions.”

Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil scored for Everton to boost their survival hopes and leave Forest in 17th place, one point above Luton with four games to play.

The east Midlands clubs have made numerous complaints to Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) throughout the season over decisions that have gone against them and have hired the former referee Mark Clattenburg as a consultant to help with these matters.