The referee and video assistant referees (VARs) involved in Manchester United’s 1-0 win against Wolves on Monday have been dropped from officiating fixtures this weekend after failing to award a late penalty in the game.
PGMOL, the body responsible for refereeing games in England, has stood down referee Simon Hooper, VAR Michael Salisbury and Assistant VAR Richard West after the officials failed to award Wolves a penalty following a collision between United goalkeeper Andre Onana and opposition striker Sasa Kalajdzic.
The two players collided in United’s penalty area in second-half added time as Onana attempted to claim a cross. The 27-year-old, who joined Erik ten Hag’s side from Inter Milan this summer, was not initially penalised for the challenge by Hooper.
The incident was checked by VAR but Hooper was not ordered to consult the monitor. Wolves head coach Gary O’Neil was also shown a yellow card by Hooper for his protests after the incident.
What is PGMOL? How refereeing really works in the Premier League
“I was told live that they didn’t think it was a clear and obvious error but having just spoken to Jonathan Moss — and fair play to him for coming straight out — he apologised and said it was blatant penalty and should have been given,” O’Neil said.
“Fair play to Jonathan for coming out and saying it was clear and obvious error; he can’t believe the on-field referee didn’t give it and he can’t believe VAR didn’t intervene.”
PGMOL’s decision to drop the trio of referees for fixtures this weekend is part of a attempted shift towards greater accountability for officials under boss Howard Webb, which includes communicating errors to clubs.
Wolves were on the receiving end of a number of apologies from Webb last season and notably saw an FA Cup third-round winner against Liverpool disallowed as VAR did not have the correct images to judge the angle of the offside.
O’Neil had told reporters earlier: “I thought live that it was a penalty. I thought it looked like the goalkeeper almost took our centre forward’s head off… and when I watch it back it looks the same. Really, really surprised.
“I think it’s a foul. When you go for the ball and clatter into an attacking player that hard I think it has to be a foul. I’m not overly surprised we didn’t get it to be honest.
“As he (Hooper) jogged over towards us I thought he might be going to the screen but as it turned out he booked me and not Onana.”
United manager Ten Hag admitted the decision to not award a penalty could be debated but that ultimately the correct call was made.
“After the opponent touched the ball he dived in so it was the judgement of the officials and lucky for us no penalty,” the 53-year-old told reporters. “I think you can debate it but I think no penalty.”
United secured a 1-0 victory thanks to Raphael Varane’s second-half header. The match was O’Neil’s first in charge of Wolves, having been appointed Julen Lopetegui’s successor just five days earlier.
United return to action on Saturday evening when they travel to Tottenham, while Wolves welcome Brighton to Molineux earlier in the day.
Gary O’Neil’s glass-half-full approach and positive display lifts gloom at Wolves
(Photo: Getty Images)