May 19, 2024

Nottingham Forest are apparently exploring legal action against Sky Sports after analyst Gary Neville compared their criticism of Premier League officials during their defeat by Everton to a “mafia gang statement”.

Forest took to X, formerly Twitter, after their 2-0 loss to their relegation rivals on Sunday, claiming they were refused three penalties by referee Anthony Taylor and VAR official Stuart Attwell, who is apparently a Luton Town fan.

The Tricky Trees tweeted following the setback, in which Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil scored the winning goals: “Three really terrible decisions – three penalties not awarded – which we simply cannot accept.

“We informed the PGMOL before the game that the VAR is a Luton fan, but they did not change him. Our patience has been challenged several times. “NFFC will now consider its options.”

Former Manchester United defender Neville slammed Forest’s statement, calling it “embarrassing” and reminiscent of a “petulant child”.

“Like a mafia gang statement.”
He told Sky Sports: “It’s like a mafia gang statement.” I mean, really, what are they playing at? It’s embarrassing to be a whiny child.

“And some of those things they’re saying in there, the suggestion of some sort of inferring of cheating because there’s an official in VAR in Stockley Park who’s a Luton fan is a scandal, and they will pay for that.”

According to the Daily Mail, the club and its disgruntled owner, Evangelos Marinakis, are considering suing Sky Sports since the statements allegedly did not sit well with the club’s leadership.

Forest tweeted on Monday that they had submitted a formal request to the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) to release audio from the Everton loss, specifically Ashley Young’s challenge on Giovanni Reyna, his ‘handball’ just before halftime, and his tackle on Callum Hudson-Odoi early in the second half.

Forest is under investigation for statement

Sky Bet tweet featuring Gary Neville banned over gambling ad rules - BBC  News

Later that day, Premier League Communications confirmed that the Football Association is looking into Forest’s remark because it was “extremely disappointed” with what was said.

Their post on Twitter says: “It is never appropriate to improperly question the integrity of match officials, and the nature of these comments means the Premier League will also be investigating the matter in relation to the League’s Rules.”

Forest quickly responded to that statement, urging the PGMOL to amend its criteria on “allegiances to account for contextual rivalries in the league table” rather than just local rivals.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s team, who are one point above the relegation zone in 17th, maintained their original statement and called for greater openness.

Forest request for refereeing rule change

The team wrote, “This is not about individuals, but about how the integrity of the game is perceived.” We know that match officials do not allow other variables to affect their decision-making, and that all referees must declare their ‘allegiances’ to PGMOL in order to avoid perceived conflict or harm to the game’s reputation for integrity.

“However, it is evident that PGMOL’s allegiance criterion must be amended to account for contextual rivalries in the league standings, rather than merely local rivals. This is presently not included in the requirements, but should be. The mere dependence on match officials to recuse themselves if contextual rivalries exist raises questions, as some have recused themselves when others have not.

“NFFC continues to advocate for increased transparency in PGMOL appointments in order to further defend the game’s reputation, as envisioned under PGMOL’s current allegiance policy.

“Given the widespread and ongoing concerns, not merely of the fans, players and managers of this Club but of many others and the pundits too, over VAR decisions throughout this season any move which boosts confidence in the system should be properly considered.”

Everton’s victory moved them five points ahead of the bottom three, with a game in hand over Forest, 18th-placed Luton, and 19th-placed Burnley.

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