Brighton Penalty Claim vs Tottenham Hotspur: Probing the Decision of the Match Officials

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The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has this week admitted that Brighton should have received a penalty during Saturday’s Premier League game against Tottenham at Spurs Stadium. The decision, which would have been taken in the second half, came on a tackle by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on Kaoru Mitoma, but referee Stuart Atwell did not make the call in real-time. Subsequently, VAR did not intervene, and Spurs eventually claimed all three points courtesy of Harry Kane’s late goal.

Had Brighton won the game, they would now find themselves sitting in sixth place, just a point shy of the North London outfit, with two matches in hand. The loss prompted the club’s captain Lewis Dunk to express his frustration concerning the lack of penalty, asking ‘I don’t see what VAR is here for? You bring it in for big decisions and don’t make big decisions. What is the point of it?’

Commentary legend and ex-Premier League striker Chris Sutton was also visibly exasperated, stating that the Brighton had been ‘robbed’, while suggesting that PGMOL’s chief Howard Webb would be providing an apology.

Indeed, BBC Sport understands that direct communication has already been made between Webb and the Brighton leadership to acknowledge the mistake. PGMOL’s regret appears to be part of an unfortunate pattern for the South coast club, as in February and just before the World Cup, there was also incorrect officiating in their games against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, as well as two potential goals from Brighton players seeing handball being wrongly flagged. In addition, De Zerbi was also shown a red card when coaching staff from both sides gathered for an on-field argument, an incident for which the club has asked for an explanation.

PGMOL has been the governing body for referees in the professional game from 2001, promoting excellence in refereeing at all levels of the competition, maintaining consistency and developing refereeing expertise. They have partnered up with different organisations, including the FA Premier League, which allows them to showcase their program to the world. PGMOL provides a platform for referees’ talent and commitment to the sport, allowing them to hone their skills and make important decisions on the game.

On the other hand, Howard Webb has been a mainstay in the officiating game for over 18 years, and is the most decorated English referee to-date. Webb has proven his expertise by following through on the majority of his decisions over the years. He has taken charge of nearly 500 matches in the English Premier League, along with countless international fixtures. In 2010, Webb made history at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, becoming the only referee to have officiated a final match as well as the match for third place, for which he was declared the best Referee of the tournament.