Craig Pawson has been named as the referee for Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool. Richard West and Daniel Robathan will assist the Sheffield-born whistleblower with Kevin Friend the fourth official.
There will be a first at the City Ground on Sunday. VAR will be in use for the very first time on what promises to be an epic occasion on the banks of the River Trent.
Andy Madley will be the man overseeing the game from Stockley Park; with Simon Bennett the assistant referee on VAR.
Pawson was at Forest for the third round of the FA Cup. He oversaw the game against Arsenal which the Reds won 1-0 thanks to a late Lewis Grabban goal.
On that occasion, he had two Forest players marked down in his notebook. Djed Spence and Philip Zinckernagel were cautioned on that occasion, with Gabriel Martinelli also booked.
Pawson is a referee who operates on the FIFA list. Dring 2021/22 he has overseen 19 Premier League games and shown 84 yellow cards.
At this point, he’s had just one red card and has also only given one penalty during the campaign to date.
Forest won’t be particularly happy to see VAR in use this weekend, especially given the number of decisions Liverpool typically get courtesy of it.
Forest v Liverpool: FA need to sort FA Cup VAR situation out
It is pretty ridiculous that VAR will be in play at the quarter-final stage but Championship clubs haven’t been allowed to use it so far.
In theory VAR should either be used in every game from the First Round proper or simply not at all throughout the whole tournament.
It’s akin to Ronnie O’Sullivan meeting Judd Trump in the World Snooker Championship Final having played conventional snooker all the way through to find that the final will be a six red shootout.
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It’s simply not fair. Liverpool are familiar with the VAR concept. For Forest, it may take some getting used to and the Reds will need to adapt.
Thankfully a Premier League referee is in place and the Reds will hope to give a good account of themselves on the night.
After this season, the FA simply need to get to grips with VAR in the FA Cup. They either need to bin it completely or use it all the way through.