PGMOL Suspends Officials Over Wrong Decision

Referee Simon Hooper during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Sheffield United at KCOM on February 23, 2018 in Hull, England.

Just one game week into the Premier League season and the PGMOL has had to suspend some officials. This decision came after the officials made a wrong decision that may have cost Wolverhampton Wanderers points during the opening game week.

There have always been complaints from clubs about wrong refereeing decisions. This wouldn’t have been a problem ordinarily, except that VAR has been introduced into the Premier League. As such, all major decisions are meant to be consulted through the VAR before a verdict is reached.

Manchester United played host to the Wolves at Old Trafford for the opening weekend of games. Unexpectedly, the visiting side played the Red Devils out of the park. The Wolves registered 25 shots and 2.23xG (expected goals), compared to Manchester United’s 15 shots and 1.46xG. 

Despite this, Varane opened the scoring in the 76th minute after heading home a cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Things took a sour turn seven minutes into added time. Andre Onana, United’s new goalkeeper, came out of his line to claim a cross and completely missed the ball, punching Sasa Kalajdzic instead. 

PGMOL Referee, Simon Hooper, shows a yellow card to Gary O'Neil, Manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers, during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on August 14, 2023 in Manchester, England.
Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The Wolves players and bench protested for a PK but the referee did not award it. The VAR checked the review and agreed with the referee that it wasn’t a PK. The decision made sure Manchester United went home with all three points.

After the game, the Professional Game Match Officials Board – League (PGMOL) and the officials of the game apologized to the Wolves and admitted that it should have been a penalty. The PGMOL went further to suspend Referee Simon Hooper, Video Assistant Ref Michael Sailsbury and Assistant VAR Richard West. They have not selected the officials for any matches in the upcoming game week.

A similar situation occurred last season between Leeds United and Wolves. Except that this time around, Leeds was the victim. The decision during the game was no PK as well.