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England referees chief apologises to Iwobi’s Everton over penalty decision

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Alex Iwobi and his Everton teammates watched in disbelief as centre referee Paul Tierney and VAR referee Chris Kavanagh denied them a chance to restore parity against table toppers, Manchester City.

Man City midfielder Rodri had handled the ball in the box with video replays showing there was a clear contact of his hand with the ball. The centre referee and the VAR official however ignored the incidence, helping Man City to a slim 1-0 win.

The decision left the Everton bench and players in fury.

Mike Riley, General Manager of the Premier League Game Officials Limited was believed to have apologised personally to Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright and coach, Frank Lampard.

Everton’s Chief Executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale on Monday wrote to the Premier League and demanded an apology as they expressed the club’s concerns.

Lampard had said after the game that the decision made them lose what they deserved from the game.

“The decision is incredible, incredible, and that loses us the opportunity to get what we deserved,” Lampard said. 

“That’s a VAR call. That’s Chris Kavanagh, I spoke to the referee and they know it is a penalty, the question is that is it offside and it wasn’t.

“That’s the reason we have VAR. It wouldn’t have needed more than five seconds to know it was a penalty. He [Kavanagh] should have either told the referee to give it or told him to go look at it.

“We’ve lost a point because of a professional who cannot do his job right. You start searching for whys and I can’t think why. It is so incompetent to get it wrong.

“Pep [Guardiola] will know, Everton fans will know, Man City fans will know, it was the clearest penalty you could give: arm is out – great, below the sleeve – great, I was waiting for the penalty.

“Incompetence at best, at worst who knows? I’ll wait for the statement or apology they do when things are wrong but it will mean nothing.”

Iwobi featured for 88 minutes in the game before getting subbed off for Anwar El Ghazi.

The Super Eagles midfielder has had three straight starts under the former Chelsea manager and has impressed in all.

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