HIGHLIGHTS

  •  Nottingham Forest have complained to PGMOL after Ivan Toney wasn’t penalised for moving the ball and the referee’s spray before his free-kick goal.
  •  Neville blamed Arsenal and Liverpool for previously complaining to PGMOL, saying they have set a precedent for other clubs to do the same.
  •  Neville believes clubs should work with referees privately to address concerns, rather than publicly announcing complaints.

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has called out Premier League duo Arsenal and Liverpool for setting a precedent for other clubs to feel as if they can complain to Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) at every given opportunity.

His post on X (formerly Twitter) has gained some traction after it was revealed that Nottingham Forest had contacted PGMOL chief Howard Webb over Ivan Toney’s controversial free-kick during their Saturday fixture, as reported by Sky Sports. Upon his return to action, the English talisman put Brentford on level terms in the 18th minute – but his curled set-piece was the catalyst in the Bees’ eventual 3-2 win over Nuno Espirito Santo’s Tricky Trees. Ivan Toney is back from his eight-month hiatus with a bang.

 

Toney, however, was seen to move the ball and the referee’s spray before curling his free-kick around the Forest wall and past a hapless Matt Turner. As such, Santo and his entourage have taken matters into their own hands and have written to the head of Premier League referees, PGMOL – but Neville is not best pleased with either Arsenal or Liverpool for setting a dangerous precedent.

Neville blasts ‘embarrassing’ Arsenal and Liverpool

The former defender: ‘Liverpool and Arsenal started it…’

Neville, who played a whopping 398 games in the Premier League, was clearly bemused by Forest’s attempt to alert the referee of Toney’s supposed wrongdoing and took to social media to place blame on both Liverpool and Arsenal, who have both complained to the refereeing body in the past over their own gripes.

“Clubs writing to the PGMOL is embarrassing! Liverpool and Arsenal started it and set the precedent of this nonsense.”

Admitting that referees are in the firing line, Neville stated that it is the best interest of all 20 Premier League sides to work in tandem with them to make playing in England’s top division as best as possible. The former defender suggested that a private email asking for clarification is acceptable but publicly stating that they’ve made a complaint just ‘adds to the pile on’.

 

“The refs should be doing better and are under enormous pressure at the moment. It’s in the clubs interests to work with them to make them improve. This public posturing is unnecessary. Speak to them and email them to gain clarification in private but they don’t have to “announce” they’ve written to the PGMOL. It’s not going to change the decision and it’s not going to help anyone! It just adds to the pile on.”

Arsenal and Liverpool complaints to PGMOL

Both clubs have lodged previous grievances

Back in November, the Gunners released a club statement backing Mikel Arteta’s outspoken remarks regarding the refereeing awarding Anthony Gordon’s goal as the Spaniard stated it was ‘embarrassing’ and a ‘disgrace’. More recently, Arsenal complained to PGMOL about the treatment of Bukayo Saka. Led by Arteta, the north London-based outfit are under the impression that their English ace is targeted in countless top flight outings. Saka may have been the third-most fouled player in 2023 but Neville feels as if they have taken it too far.

Arsenal have backed boss Mikel Arteta in hitting out at the officiating during the defeat to Newcastle United. Liverpool, too, have previously made their feelings known about the standard of refereeing in the Premier League. In May 2023, the Merseysiders asked PGMOL to give reasoning over two contentious decisions that went in the favour of Aston Villa as Jürgen Klopp’s side drew against the Midlands-based outfit. Referee John Brooks ruled out Cody Gakpo’s goal for offside, while he also bradished a yellow card – which Klopp and Co. believed should’ve been a red card – to Tyrone Mings for a high, studs-first foul on the Dutchman.