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Lee Mason withdraws from Liverpool game following West Brom-Brighton controversy

Mason was involved in a hugely controversial decision while taking charge of West Brom’s win over Brighton on Saturday.

Lee Mason has withdrawn from his fourth official duties in Liverpool’s Premier League game with Sheffield United on Sunday evening.

Mason has cited an injury as his reason for stepping away from the game at Bramall Lane, according to The Independent. He has been replaced by John Brooks.

The development comes after Mason was involved in a hugely controversial game between West Brom and Brighton on Saturday.

Mason Brighton controversy.

During the game at the Hawthorns, Mason appeared to signal for Brighton to take a quick free-kick.

However, as Lewis Dunk struck the ball while Baggies keeper Sam Johnstone was positioning his wall, Mason blew his whistle before the ball crossed the line.

The goal was allowed then disallowed after Mason reviewed the incident on the pitchside VAR monitor.

Brighton also missed two penalties as West Brom claimed a 1-0 win thanks to Kyle Bartley’s early goal.

‘Embarrassing’ and ‘horrendous’ – Dunk.

Following the game, Brighton defender Dunk was unsparing in his criticism of the decision to rule out his free-kick.

“It’s embarrassing, a horrendous decision. I asked the ref if I could take the free-kick, he blew his whistle and I took it. Just because you have so much pressure from the bench and the players he disallows the goal.

“VAR don’t know what he said. It’s a horrendous decision. Why doesn’t he come speak to the press like me? Why doesn’t he come and say his point? Never. They hide behind their bubble… that’s fine, isn’t it? I don’t think he knew what he was doing. I said to him, ‘can I take the free-kick?’, he said ‘yes’, he blew the whistle and I took it.

“It went in the back of the net and he give the goal. Why did he give the goal? Because he knew he said go. I don’t know how VAR is getting involved because he said the words. You can go back and look at the video if you want.”

Following the game, West Brom boss Sam Allardyce admitted he couldn’t ‘grasp’ Mason’s decision.

“I just feel that a referee today has far too many rules and regulations to adhere to – to try and even remember what he can and can’t do,” said Allardyce.

“I think that causes confusion because there’s far too many changes, there’s actually been changes as the season’s gone on.

“So it isn’t a rule but the referee still has to do it. I can’t grasp that one either. If it’s a rule, fine. If it’s not a rule why are we applying it? Too many rule changes, too many things to think about.

“The natural way to play football or referee a game is with a clear mind and I don’t think referees today are allowed to have a clear mind today to just referee how they feel, with their personality and experience and give what they see within a small set of rules.

“Not this ever-extending number of rules they keep changing and adding on.”

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