The Professional Referee Organization (PRO), the body which oversees professional referees in North America, issued a statement regarding the officiating decision to disallow a Columbus Crew SC goal by Pedro Santos in the 22nd minute of the Week 10 match at Audi Field against D.C. United. Crew SC proceeded to concede three unanswered goals en route to a 3-1 loss.
The full PRO statement on the incident follows below:
The Professional Referee Organization (PRO) acknowledges that an officiating error occurred during the 22nd minute of the match between D.C. United and Columbus Crew SC on May 4.
The Video Assistant Referee recommended a review of the Pedro Santos goal for Columbus for a possible foul by Columbus midfielder Wil Trapp on D.C. midfielder Luciano Acosta in the attacking phase of play, leading up to the goal.
The incident should not have been recommended for review by the VAR as the decision to play on was not a clear and obvious error, which is the threshold for VAR intervention. Additionally, having reviewed the incident footage, the referee, who has the final decision, should have determined that no foul had been committed in the attacking phase of play and that the original call, and therefore the goal by Santos, should have stood.
PRO evaluates the performance of every match official and takes necessary steps to continually minimize errors through rigorous testing and training protocols. Additionally, PRO holds its officials accountable and takes appropriate action in regards to future assignments.
The officiating crew on May 4 at Audi Field was led by head referee Ted Unkel. He was assisted by ARs Philippe Briere and Felisha Mariscal. The fourth official was Mark Allatin with Kevin Terry Jr. overseeing VAR duties.