Noel Whelan was gobsmacked by Lee Mason’s conduct during West Brom v Brighton and demanded that officials be held to account for their actions.
The ex-Premier League star was reacting exclusively to Football Insider after the referee’s now-infamous blunder in Saturday’s bizarre meeting between the two relegation strugglers.
West Brom ultimately ran out 1-0 winners but not before a substantial dose of controversy.
In the 28th minute, Brighton’s Lewis Dunk asked Mason if he could take a quick free-kick on the edge of the area, to which the referee answered that he could.
Dunk dispatched the free-kick but not before Mason blew his whistle for a second time and, following a VAR intervention, disallowed what looked like a fair goal.
Whelan was astonished by the incident and insisted that referees need to be held to account for their actions in the same way that managers are.
He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “Shocking, absolutely shocking. I think accountability for mistakes and behaviour is important.
“Managers have to come out and express their disappointment in how their players have been playing. We should expect the same from referees and the referees’ association about the mistakes they make and how they conduct themselves.
“Everyone needs to know. It was that blatant that it was disgusting that he didn’t come out and say something before now. It’s a horrific mistake. It could have big consequences.
“Having said that, it’s not all his fault. Brighton have also missed two penalties.
“But the mistake, it was horrendous. You expect something straight away from the authorities in terms of giving a proper explanation.”
Whelan’s sentiments were echoed by Dunk himself, who spoke to Sky Sports after the match: “Why doesn’t he come and speak to the press like me? Never. They hide behind their bubble.
“I don’t think he knew what he was doing. He gave the goal. Why did he give it? I don’t know why VAR was getting involved.”