Controversial Watford incident VAR back on Leeds United duty at Southampton, along with ref who was VAR for last St Mary's visit

Lee Mason will be in charge of VAR for Leeds United's trip to Southampton, a fortnight after missing what appeared to be a clear penalty for the Whites against Watford.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 5:19 pm
Updated Monday, 11th October 2021, 5:20 pm
VAR DUTY - Lee Mason will act as VAR for Leeds United's trip to Southampton after working the game against Watford last time out. Pic: Getty

The Bolton official retired from on-field refereeing duties at the end of last season but became the Premier League's first dedicated Video Assistant Referee at the start of the current campaign.

He was Simon Hooper's VAR for Leeds' last outing at Elland Road against Watford, a 1-0 win, but came in for criticism along with the match officials for deciding William Troost-Ekong's challenge on James was not a foul. The defender blocked the run of the Leeds winger, who appeared destined to reach the ball in the area.

Former top flight referee Keith Hackett described it as a 'nailed-on penalty kick'.

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It was one of two controversial moments in the game, the other coming when Liam Cooper tangled with Christian Kabasele in the Leeds area as Illan Meslier dropped a corner. Hooper blew his whistle before the ball rolled into the net, deeming Kabasele to have fouled the Whites captain. Because he had whistled play dead before the ball crossed the line, VAR could not intervene.

Mason will once again be the VAR as Marcelo Bielsa's team return to Premier League action at St Mary's on Saturday.

David Coote has been appointed referee for the game, with Dan Cook and Nick Hopton his assistants. John Brooks will be fourth official, with Mark Scholes assistant VAR.

Coote has refereed 16 previous Leeds fixtures, eight of which they have one, with one draw and seven defeats. He last officiated a Whites game last season, in the final fixture against West Brom when he awarded Bielsa's men a penalty for Okay Yokuslu's handball.

A few days prior he was the VAR who ignored Patrick Bamford's plea for a spot-kick after the striker opted to stay on his feet after a challenge by Southampton keeper Alex McCarthy.

In March 2019 Coote sent off Kiko Casilla in Leeds' 1-0 defeat by Sheffield United and also gave Liam Cooper his marching orders that same season against Millwall.