Lee Mason injury
Premier League official Lee Mason was ruled out of officiating duties on Sunday due to injury after a mistake in the match between Brighton and West Brom.
Many considered his absence suspicious with regards to the timing being so soon after his high-profile mistake on Saturday. However, it is supposedly a legitimate issue which is likely to keep Mason out of officiating duties during the week with no timescale given yet as to his return.
This does not mean he will escape any form of scrutiny from PGMOL, who continually assess the match officials, and decide fixture allocation based around previous performances.
Mason has already received scrutiny this season after Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo was fined for comments made about Mason’s officiating.
Throwback to Nuno Santo’s comments on Lee Mason…
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) February 27, 2021
The mistake explained
The incident, which has now gone viral across football media, entails Lee Mason blowing his whistle for a quick free kick to be taken before blowing it again before the ball entered the net.
ESPN’s Dale Johnson, who conducts weekly VAR analysis, has thoroughly explained what went wrong for the match official.
Johnson explains how typically referees prefer to prevent teams from taking quick free kicks from in and around the penalty box as a way of maintaining game management. However, he points out that there is no official rule that a referee must wait until the opposition is finished preparing for the upcoming set piece.
This is important because Johnson says that he believes that Mason had not spotted that the West Brom keeper was yet to be set and in place for the free kick. This means that when Dunk stepped up to take it, Johnstone was on the other side of the goal away from where the defender placed the strike.
So, onto Lee Mason and the Lewis Dunk free-kick in WBA v Brighton.
What seems clear is Mason didn’t realise the goalkeeper was still setting his wall when he gave Dunk permission to take the free-kick.
Of course, not realising this is no excuse.
— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) March 1, 2021
‘The first error is the failure to check the keeper. The second the u-turn to allow the goal. He should have explained he wasn’t aware of the keeper and ordered a retake. Players wouldn’t have been happy, but it would have been logical and we would have avoided the circus,’ wrote Johnson.
Johnson goes on to explain how the goal is effectively ruled out when VAR comes into play to tell the official that the ball is effectively dead before it crosses the line, due to the second blowing of the whistle.
He concludes by saying that it is likely Mason panicked in the situation, seeing the keeper away from his more natural position and decided to blow his whistle for a second time. This incident could have major implications in the relegation battle seeing as both West Brom and Brighton are heavily involved in it.
So, what happened? Only Lee Mason can truly answer.
It seems he panicked when he saw the keeper’s position. And buckled under pressure by allowing the goal after originally disallowing it.
VAR was powerless to do anything but disallow it based upon Mason’s second whistle.
— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) March 1, 2021
“The referee does not have the quality to whistle the game” – Nuno Espirito Santo charged with improper conduct by FA
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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