Mark Clattenburg defends Nottingham Forest as Gary Neville urges him to resign | Football

Mark Clattenberg has defended Nottingham Forest’s statement (Picture: PA)

Former Premier League referee and Nottingham Forest consultant Mark Clattenburg has doubled down on the club’s criticism towards the match officials following their controversial 2-0 defeat to Everton.

Relegation-threatened Forest felt they had strong claims for three penalties during Sunday’s game, all of which were turned down by referee Anthony Taylor and VAR assistant Stuart Atwell.

In an extraordinary post-match statement on social media, the club described the decisions as ‘extremely poor’ and accused Atwell – a fan of relegation rivals Luton Town – of bias.

Both Forest and Clattenburg have been widely criticised in the aftermath, with Gary Neville suggesting that the latter should quit his role as the club’s referee consultant.

‘Mark Clattenburg must resign from his job at Nottingham Forest,’ the former Manchester United defender said.

‘If he sees those words go out, which question the integrity and essentially call a VAR official a cheat because he supports a certain club, then he’s supporting what’s being said and he would basically lose all credibility, I think, with referees in the game.’

Clattenburg has since responded to the criticism, labelling the decisions a ‘joke’ and suggested that the club had contacted the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) before the game to raise concerns about Atwell’s appointment to the fixture.

Referee Anthony Taylor is confronted by Chris Wood and Callum Hudson-Odoi of Nottingham Forest claiming a hand ball against Ashley Young of Everton (not pictured) during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park on April 21, 2024

Nottingham Forest players protest to referee Anthony Taylor (Picture: Getty)

‘One of these errors would have been bad enough,’ the former referee wrote in his column for the Daily Mail. ‘Three was a joke, and that is why Nottingham Forest were left feeling victimised after another defeat in which zero big decisions went their way.

‘It was a hat-trick of howlers from the refereeing team and, unfortunately for Forest, a continuation of an unjust trend that has hampered their survival fight.’

‘You will have seen the statement released by the club – how the PGMOL were contacted to warn that it was not appropriate for a Luton fan such as Attwell to play such a pivotal role in a massive match that would impact the relegation race.

‘I would not have risked this situation if I were the head of the referees and all of this could have been avoided had the PGMOL simply made smarter appointments.’

Forest, meanwhile, have released a fresh statement on Monday demanding the PGMOL release the audio recordings from the three VAR decisions.

‘The club has requested this be shared for three key match incidents – Ashley Young’s challenge on Giovanni Reyna (24th minute), Ashley Young’s handball (44th minute) and Ashley Young’s challenge on Callum Hudson-Odoi (56th minute),’ they continued.

‘We firmly advocate for the broader football community and supporters to have access to the audio and transcript for full transparency, ensuring the integrity of our sport is upheld.’

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