How PGMOL picks referees amid Nottingham Forest's Stuart Attwell controversy after Everton defeat

Referee Stuart Attwell
Referee Stuart Attwell -Credit:Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Nottingham Forest have taken the unprecedented step of calling out the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) for their appointment of Stuart Attwell as VAR official against Everton on Sunday.

Attwell lives in Nuneaton but is believed to support Luton Town, who are currently embroiled in a relegation battle with the Reds. After the 2-0 defeat against the Toffees, Forest posted an extraordinary statement which slammed Attwell's appointment.

They wrote: "Three extremely poor decisions - three penalties not given - which we simply cannot accept. We warned the PGMOL that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game but they didn’t change him.

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"Our patience has been tested multiple times. NFFC will now consider its options."

The FA are understood to be investigating Forest for their social media post, which has yet to be deleted at the time of writing. Back in 2016, former boss of the PGMOL Keith Hackett told the BBC how they try to avoid referee bias before the season begins.

He explained: "At the beginning of every season the referees' background information is audited. They complete a form that includes who they support, the history of if they've played the game and with the addresses where they are residing.

"That gives you a picture that comes into use when you're appointing. It's about ensuring, for example, that you wouldn't appoint a Sheffield-based ref for a Sheffield team."

The PGMOL added at the time that this process attempts to avoid 'unnecessary extra external pressure and scrutiny on referees' in what is an 'already a high pressure and demanding job'.