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Monday, November 11, 2019 5:42:21 PM

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Kevin Friend: Which teams do Premier League referees support?

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Do referees have to say who they support? And referees will not get appointed to the clubs they support. It's about ensuring, for example, you wouldn't appoint a Sheffield-based ref for a Sheffield team. If you lived in Leeds, you weren't going to referee Leeds United.

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PGMOL says the process behind referee selection is all about avoiding "unnecessary extra external pressure and scrutiny on referees" in what is an "already a high pressure and demanding job". It also says that where a referee lives is not a factor when referee appointments are considered.

So what does happen when you referee your team? Halsey, a QPR fan, said he refereed his own team twice, before rules over announcing your allegiance came in.

I never told them initially because it was back in the s and things like that were only just starting to happen. Mark Halsey hung up his whistle in after 14 years of top-flight officiating "I had to declare it because I felt like celebrating when they won.

But once you've crossed the white line you're the ref and you always remained professional. Both Hackett and Halsey argue there are inconsistencies. Halsey has questioned why Friend was removed from refereeing a game involving Leicester's title rivals, while Michael Oliver, a Newcastle fan, was allowed to officiate in a game involving the Magpies' fellow relegation candidates Norwich City, when they lost to Crystal Palace last week.

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And Hackett has pointed towards inconsistencies around refereeing appointments when it comes to geography. Newcastle fan Michael Oliver has officiated a game involving the Magpies' relegation rivals Norwich City Up until that point he had officiated one Liverpool game and two Everton games, but has not overseen either side since, despite moving to north Wales.

Halsey and Hackett said they were not questioning the integrity of any referee, but questioned the consistency of the appointment process. What do the managers say?

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger criticised the decision to remove Friend from Tottenham's game against Stoke, after pressure from Spurs fans on social media. A dangerous precedent," he said.

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