Why Michael Oliver Doesn’t Officiate Newcastle United Games as Nottingham Double Down

Why Michael Oliver Doesn’t Officiate Newcastle United Games as Nottingham Double Down

Martin Moses
updated at April 23, 2024 at 7:32 AM
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Nottingham Forest
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  • Michael Oliver has in the past disclosed why he doesn't officiate games involving Newcastle United
  • Nottingham Forest have accused PGMOL of appointing a VAR with allegiances to a relegation rival
  • The club released a heavily-worded statement on X following their 2-0 loss to Everton on April 21

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In a football league that is constantly in the news for the wrong reasons due to poor officiating, Michael Oliver has managed to earn a few plaudits once in a while.

The Premier League might still be the most lucrative and most competitive football league in the world, but it has been undone numerous times by poor officiating, even with the advent of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Nottingham Forest, Antony Taylor, Michael Oliver, Newcastle United, Stuart Atwell, PGMOL
Nottingham Forest players protest to referee, Anthony Taylor, during their Premier League match against Everton on April 21. Photo by Alex Livesey.
Source: Getty Images

Nottingham Forest's statement after Everton game

Nottingham Forest are currently dominating headlines after a scathing statement on X (formerly Twitter), in which they categorically accused the refereeing body, PGMOL, of not listening to them.

The Evangelos Marinakis-owned club stated they 'simply couldn't accept' the three decisions that went against them in the Everton match, promising to 'consider their options' after their 'patience had been tested multiple times'.

In the statement, the two-time European Cup winners also mentioned Stuart Atwell - the VAR in that game - as a Luton Town fan; therefore, his loyalties could be compromised. Nottingham and Luton are currently embroiled in the relegation battle.

This brought to the fore how PGMOL appoints referees for games where the officials are fans. The referees are human and might have grown up supporting a particular club. Would it be fair to the opponent to officiate a game where a boyhood club is involved?

Why Michael Oliver doesn't officiate Newcastle United games

In a 2021 interview with Daily Mail, Oliver shed light on these pertinent questions. The self-confessed Newcastle United fan disclosed why he doesn't officiate games involving the Magpies.

"We have to declare if we have an allegiance to any club or if a family member works at a club. You can't do any match involving that team, and I can't do Sunderland, either, for obvious reasons."

Sunderland is Newcastle United's biggest rival in the Tyne-Wear derby.

Nottingham Forest, Antony Taylor, Michael Oliver, Newcastle United, Stuart Atwell, PGMOL
Michael Oliver in action during Manchester City's clash against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final on April 21, 2024. Photo by James Gill - Danehouse.
Source: Getty Images

Oliver also shared that he can't get involved in matches directly affecting Newcastle. For example, in past seasons, they have been in relegation dogfights, and the 39-year-old can't officiate games where a win or a loss of a certain team would help Newcastle's chances.

"If Newcastle needed a point to survive and the team they were fighting to get above was, say, Villa, I couldn't referee Villa's game either. I wouldn't want to. It's not worth the hassle."

Well, if Atwell is a Luton fan and Nottingham aired out their concerns to PGMOL, would they be right to react the way they did? The FA has opened an investigation into the statement even as Nottingham insists the audio of the three incidents be made public.

Why Jack Grealish's handball wasn't penalised

Meanwhile, Oliver was on the end of a contentious decision during the FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Manchester City on April 20.

Sports Brief has reported why Jack Grealish's handball wasn't given as a penalty despite the ball hitting the arm of the England international.

The defending champions went on to seal their place in the final thanks to a late goal from Bernardo Silva, with Oliver on the spot for his ruling.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)