Premier League referee Simon Hooper was left “devastated” after committing a crucial error in a recent match. PGMOL chief Howard Webb, who oversees the officiating board for the Premier League, revealed the news on Tuesday. The former referee now helps determine officials for each of the Premier League’s games.

Hooper was in charge of a fixture between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur on December 3rd. With the game level at three goals each, City had a massive chance to grab a late equalizer. Spurs defender Emerson Royal fouled star City striker Erling Haaland in the middle of the pitch.

Despite going down, Haaland attempted to continue. The ball then went to winger Jack Grealish as he found himself through on goal. Hooper, however, stopped play to award the European champions a spot kick instead. The free kick eventually came to nothing, and the game finished 3-3.

After the final whistle, Haaland and several other City players vented frustrations with Hooper’s decision to stop the advantage. The Football Association (FA) did charge the club for their conduct, but Haaland avoided any further action by the governing body.

Webb says Hooper felt ‘devastated’ by mistake

Webb discussed the incident during an appearance on Match Officials: Mic’d Up. The refereeing exec agreed that it was a mistake by Hooper and that the referee felt bad about his decision. “I understand the disappointment that City felt on this one,” Webb stated on the show.

“It is an officiating mistake, and the VAR has no part to play in this. We’re always looking, as officials, to have that positive influence on the game, by trying to identify occasions when we can allow the game to play through an advantage.”

“[Hooper] decides to penalize just at the moment as the ball’s about to go, he blows the whistle, and then realizes that a wonderful advantage was available. He was devastated. He’d refereed the game really well for 93 minutes, but he knew this is going to be the only talking point. It would have been a wonderful advantage.”

Many fans appreciate Webb’s continued appearance on the show to discuss controversial incidents. After all, the discussion helps people understand certain calls. However, some also say that Webb is not challenged enough in his opinions regarding these decisions.

Latest Premier League referee error brings memories of past issues

The incorrect call in the City and Spurs fixture is not exactly the first embarrassing moment for Premier League officials this season. VAR officials in the division came under fire back in October for bizarrely disallowing a goal by Liverpool. The officials somehow mixed up an offside call on the pitch and wrongly chalked off the goal by Luis Diaz.

Webb has also sent apologies to several top-flight teams following referee errors this calendar year. Arsenal (multiple times), Wolves and Brighton & Hove have all received words of regret from the PGMOL boss in recent months. VAR came in to help clean up these mistakes, but the errors just keep coming. Players, coaches, and fans are all still asking for consistency regarding refereeing in the world’s most popular league.