Former referee questions decision to relieve Kevin Friend of his duties for Stoke v Tottenham clash

Kevin Friend has been stripped of his role as referee for the Stoke City vs Spurs game on Monday night.

Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has accused the governing body for selection of match referees (PGMOL) of double standards.

He has also suggested they have made a rod for their own back following on from Kevin Friend being relieved of his duties for the Stoke City vs Tottenham Hotspur clash due to Friend's Leicester City connection.

Speaking to talkSPORT on Alan Brazil's Sports Breakfast, Halsey commented on the situation, drawing parallels with other Premier League referee appointments:

“Every referee has to declare who they support, and I was surprised by the PGMOL anyway for putting themselves in that position knowing that Kevin lives in Leicester. But then again, we’ve got Anthony Taylor, who lives less than two miles from Old Trafford, and he’s refereeing Manchester United v Aston Villa on Saturday. So what’s the difference? He lives two minutes from Man United, yet he still referees them."

He then weighed further into the debate, suggesting that Newcastle United fan Michael Oliver should never have been appointed for the Crystal Palace vs Norwich City game.

Whist Halsey doesn't question Oliver's integrity, he claims there is no difference between the two match appointments:

“Then you’ve got Michael Oliver, a massive Newcastle United fan, who referees Crystal Palace v Norwich. Listen, I’m not questioning Michael’s integrity because he is a great referee, but Norwich had a clear penalty with Delaney bringing down Jarvis, so what’s the difference?"

The PGMOL have certainly left themselves open to criticism and future allegations of favouritism, with Halsey's comments bringing to light just how poorly the situation has been managed.

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