By G9ija

The PGMOL have announced that VAR official Lee Mason has departed by mutual consent following a high-profile error in Arsenal’s draw with Brentford last weekend.

The 51-year-old was at Stockley Park for the Gunners’ meeting with the Bees, where Leandro Trossard’s opener was cancelled out by Ivan Toney’s goal in a 1-1 stalemate.

However, Toney’s equaliser should not have stood, as video replays showed that Christian Norgaard was offside in the build-up, but Mason failed to spot the offence.

It has been claimed that Mason forgot to draw the lines which would have shown Norgaard in an offside position, and he was subsequently taken off VAR duty for the latest round of fixtures.

Having potentially affected the outcome of the Premier League title race, Mason’s error drew scathing criticism from Mikel Arteta, fans and former referees alike.

Mason stopped refereeing on the field to officiate exclusively in the VAR room for the 2021-22 season, but he will no longer oversee Premier League fixtures after leaving the PGMOL.

A statement from the organisation read: “PGMOL can confirm that Video Assistant Referee Lee Mason has departed the organisation by mutual consent.

“Lee was a Premier League referee for 15 years and oversaw 287 top-flight matches during that time, with his last coming during the closing stages of the 2021-22 season.

“His full career in the professional game saw the 51-year-old officiate in over 500 fixtures after he progressed to the Football League in 1998. We would like to thank Lee for his dedicated service to the beautiful game and wish him all the best for the future.”

Mason’s blunder last weekend was not his first notable error in a game involving Arsenal this term, as he ruled out Gabriel Martinelli’s goal against Manchester United in September for a foul on Christian Eriksen by Martin Odegaard.

Arsenal went on to lose the game 3-1, but an independent panel subsequently determined that Mason had made a mistake by disallowing Martinelli’s goal for Odegaard’s challenge.

The 51-year-old also felt the full force of Nuno Espirito Santo’s wrath in December 2020, with the ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers boss claiming that he was “not good enough” for the Premier League.

“Football is a physical game, a game of contact and referees taking the decisions and being fair. But the referee is not good enough to whistle; Lee Mason is not good enough,” Espirito Santo said after his side lost 2-1 to Burnley.

“It isn’t about the major, crucial decisions. It is the way he handles the players – both teams lose their focus, they are always arguing the decision. He must improve because the game requires good refereeing and good handling of the game so the players are able to keep on performing.”

Arsenal have now been knocked down to second place in the table by Manchester City after losing 3-1 to the champions on Wednesday, but they are only behind on goal difference with a game in hand.