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      Lee Mason’s mistake ‘unacceptable’ – Mikel Arteta

      ByMonelo Gabriel

      Feb 14, 2023

      Mason, who operates as a full-time VAR officer for PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited), has been removed from his duties for the next round of Premier League games following his mistake.

      It did not investigate the play that immediately led to Brentford’s equalizer at the Emirates Stadium when Christian Norgaard appeared to be in an offside position before hooking the ball across for Ivan Toney to score.

      Mason was not selected for a round of games in September after mistakenly disallowing a Newcastle goal for a foul in their home game against Crystal Palace.

      Toney’s goal canceled out Leandro Trossard’s opening goal, leading to a 1-1 draw that sees Arsenal go into Wednesday night’s home clash against nearest rival Manchester City with just three points. advantage at the top.

      “We finished the game, after analyzing all the evidence we have had with the images, with enormous anger and disappointment,” said Arteta.

      “That was not a human error, it was a big misconception and understanding of your work and that is not acceptable, I’m sorry.

      “That costs Arsenal two points that are not going to be recovered. We’re going to have to find those two points somewhere in the league.

      “At the same time, we appreciate the apologies and explanations, and we get a lot of sympathy from colleagues in the industry and in football who say we can’t play the game with the integrity that we do. That’s all. We have to move on.

      “It is not for me to judge. It’s not about someone making a mistake and then let’s crucify him.

      “It’s trying to do the best we can together to have a fairer sport and make the clearest and best decisions. Hope that helps because of what happened last weekend.

      “That has certainly strengthened the players, the staff and our fans and made them more eager to overcome this obstacle that they put in our way. So we’re ready for that.”

      Asked if he was satisfied with the apology issued by the PGMOL, Arteta replied: “I will only be satisfied if they return the two points, which will not be the case.

      “I appreciate what I think were really sincere, open and genuine apologies and explanations, which is really nice. But it doesn’t change the fact that we have two fewer points on the table.”

      Mikel Arteta, centre, speaks to the referees after Arsenal's draw with Brentford
      Mikel Arteta speaks to the referees after Arsenal’s tie with Brentford (John Walton/PA)

      Despite his anger over the decision, which could still cost Arsenal their first league title in 19 years, Arteta believes there is a place in football for VAR.

      “When I see the reaction from (PGMOL technical director) Howard Webb and PGMOL and everyone and how genuine it was and that anger, they want to do their best and they know the standards that are at stake,” he added.

      “I think in the end it will help. Hopefully we can use that to improve the game, have more integrity and pay more attention to the details that matter because at the end of the day it has a significant return on the results.”

      Arteta will face his close friend Pep Guardiola on Wednesday night, the pair leading City to two Premier League titles when Arteta was an assistant.

      He has yet to beat Guardiola in a league game but insists it is about Arsenal beating City rather than personal pride at stake.

      “For me it’s the team,” he said.

      “The team, the club and where we are. For me, beating one coach or another is not about that. It’s about beating the next opponent and in this case it’s Man City”.


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