The English Premier League was left absolutely stunned after referee Lee Mason delivered a bizarre moment during West Brom’s clash with Brighton.
Kyle Bartley opened the scoring for West Brom before Pascal Gross failed to equalise when he hit the bar from a penalty.
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But the drama started when Brighton was awarded a free-kick outside West Brom’s area.
West Brom were organising their wall when the referee blew his whistle and Lewis Dunk showed some quick-thinking to slot the ball into an empty net.
But chaos ensued.
West Brom players were momentarily up-in-arms – having not been ready – but Mason made the snap decision to not award the goal.
Brighton players surrounded the referee and were furious considering the whistle had been blown for play to continue.
But adding to the confusion, Mason then reversed his decision and awarded the goal.
This had West Brom players fuming and after they argued with the referee, Mason then went and checked the ruling on VAR.
This prompted Mason to change his mind a second time and rule out the goal after checking on the monitor whether he had blown his whistle.
Sky Sports Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling unleashed on Mason.
“This is a shambles. Lee Mason, what have you done?” Stelling said.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. He’s completely out of control,” Paul Merson added.
🗣 “It’s a total, utter, shameful, disgraceful piece of NONSENSE!”
Jeff and the boys CANNOT believe what they’re seeing from the game between West Brom and Brighton! 👀😂
Watch Soccer Saturday live on Sky Sports News 📺 pic.twitter.com/bFvgFddU0y
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 27, 2021
“VAR has given no goal and now he is going to look at the screen. This is a total, utter, shameful, disgraceful, piece of nonsense!
The football community were equally dumbfounded at the scenes unfolding.
“Why is VAR even involved, does Lee Mason not have control of his own mouth?” 🤨
“So are we saying that we need a camera to see if Lee Mason, a grown man, has blown a whistle?” 😳
We’re as confused as you are 🥴 pic.twitter.com/TNEQTce3S6
— BT Sport Score (@btsportscore) February 27, 2021
This is shambolic from Lee Mason. Yet more evidence that the standard of refereeing in this country is on the floor.
— Mike Keegan (@MikeKeegan_DM) February 27, 2021
The Lee Mason thing wasn’t a problem with VAR. VAR had no reason to be involved. But it highlights one of the unintended consequences of VAR, which is that his immediate reaction was to get VAR to reofficiate his own mistake, and assume it would get him out of it. https://t.co/pFcLmSsQ8B
— Rory Smith (@RorySmith) February 27, 2021
West Brom and Brighton players divided over Mason call
The Premier League released a statement clarifying why Mason had overturned the goal.
“Referee Lee Mason has overturned the goal because the whistle had been blown a second time before the ball had crossed the line.”
Dunk, who took the free-kick, let rip at Mason after the game.
“It’s embarrassing, it’s just a horrendous decision,” he said in an interview.
“I said to the ref ‘can I take it’, he blew his whistle and I took it.
“I don’t think he knew what he was doing.”
Lewis Dunk described the controversial moment Lee Mason disallowed a free-kick that Brighton had scored despite blowing his whistle as “embarrassing” and “horrendous” pic.twitter.com/ZUFkEonvjc
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 27, 2021
Mason found an ally in West Brom defender Kyle Bartley.
“The ref blew his whistle, he said, to speak to someone in the wall, there was a bit of pushing,” he told Sky Sports.
“There was a bit of confusion but Lee Mason dealt with it really well and came to the right conclusion. It was a bit confusing, I don’t think it would have been right for them to score like that.”
Brighton had another chance to equalise when Danny Welbeck missed the team’s second penalty.
West Brom held on for the win to move within eight points of the safety zone.
Brighton dropped to 16th and just four points from the relegation places.