Paul Tierney, the center referee who controversially played a role in Liverpool winning at the weekend, is not a part of the upcoming Premier League schedule. The English top flight announced the referee assignments for matchday 28. Tierney has been refereeing Premier League games since 2015, but this controversy has certainly caused a row among fans.

The issue in question comes down to when and where Tierney restarted the game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. In the seventh minute of stoppage time, Ibrahima Konate went down after a Forest corner. The Liverpool center-back was grabbing his head, which properly led to an injury stoppage. At the time, Forest had possession of the ball just outside the Liverpool box.

Rather than restarting play with Forest on the ball in that position, Tierney awarded possession to Liverpool. Just under two minutes later, Liverpool did not give Forest the ball back, and Darwin Núñez scored the only goal of the game. The result has massive implications for the title race, as Liverpool is currently leading the league. Likewise, Nottingham Forest is a major candidate to suffer relegation this season.

Forest players and officials swarmed Tierney after the full-time whistle blew. Steven Reid, one of the coaches for Nottingham Forest, earned a red card for berating Tierney after the game. Also, the club’s owner, Evangelos Marinakis, pursued the referees after the game until they reached the referee offices at the City Ground.

Incorrect decision from Paul Tierney has an impact on Premier League

Mark Clattenburg, a former Premier League referee who now provides insight for Nottingham Forest, criticized the way Tierney gave Liverpool the ball at such a pivotal time.

“When [the ball was] given to the keeper, with Liverpool scoring afterwards, you can see why [Forest] are aggrieved,” said Clattenburg. “I haven’t spoken to the referee – I’ll leave that to the club. I went to go into the referee’s dressing room [after the game] but he wouldn’t allow it.”

Even though Tierney is not facing a proper suspension from the PGMOL, he will not be a center referee this weekend. Instead, he will be at the Emirates serving as the VAR when Arsenal hosts Brentford.

Premier League referees still the subject of controversy

Tierney’s latest incident adds to a growing number of concerns among Premier League referees. Some of these are connected to VAR, despite the league’s claims that 96% of calls are correct. Others, like the one involving Tierney, are human error. What remains the biggest issue is how refereeing mistakes are such a strong talking point. The Premier League has brought out live audio of VAR discussions to provide more clarity in the decision-making process. Still, many of the issues with referees in the English top flight remain an enigma to viewers.

If there is one positive to take away about referees, it is Sunny Singh Gill. Singh Gill is going to be the first British South Asian to referee a match in the Premier League when he works the Crystal Palace game against Luton Town this weekend.