Referee Lee Mason’s officiating was labelled an “embarrassment” after he disallowed a Brighton goal against West Brom having already decided to award it.

Brighton thought they had levelled at the Hawthorns under huge controversy when Lewis Dunk curled in a quick free-kick.

Referee Mason blew his whistle – before quickly blowing again – but in between Dunk had shot and scored.

Brighton’s players surrounded Mason to complain and the referee eventually gave the goal – only to finally reverse his decision after a chaotic few minutes and pull the game back for the Seagulls to retake their initial free-kick.

The Premier League explained the decision in a statement on Twitter, saying: “Lewis Dunk takes a quick free-kick and bends the ball into the net but after consulting the VAR, referee Lee Mason has overturned the goal because the whistle had been blown a second time before the ball had crossed the line.”

But the decision-making process, which took a number of minutes to be concluded, was heavily criticised.

Former England star Alex Scott said on the BBC’s Football Focus: “The whole situation and how that was dealt with was an embarrassment.

“One minute it was given then it wasn’t and then it went to VAR – you need someone to take control and explain and then it stops everything that we’ve just seen happen from happening.”

Gary Lineker was equally scathing on Twitter, saying: “This is a first even with the levels this season’s bonkersness. Lee Mason has disallowed a goal, then given a goal, then disallowed a goal. Best, confused of Leicester.

“The reason it was disallowed was because the ref blew his whistle for a 2nd time just before it crossed the line, which stops play. Never seen that happen before but highlights the nonsensity of a law that stops the side who’ve been fouled gaining an advantage.”