Referee Kevin Friend has been reassigned ahead of the Stoke City vs. Tottenham Hotspur clash on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).
Friend is from Leicester and has openly admitted supporting the Foxes in the past.
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Leicester is currently seven points ahead of Tottenham in second place heading into Week 34. Both teams have five games left.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) do not pick Friend to officiate any Leicester games due to his allegiance, but in this exceptional circumstance PGMOL boss Mike Riley stepped in and switched Friend to the Newcastle vs. Manchester City game on Tuesday.
In a statement the PGMOL said the following:
“Kevin Friend, initially selected for the game, is from Leicester and has attended matches at Leicester City in a personal capacity. Given the context of this match, it was felt unnecessary to add extra scrutiny on the refereeing appointment.”
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Neil Swarbrick will instead referee Stoke vs. Tottenham on Monday.
If Leicester lose against West Ham United on Sunday (Watch live, 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra), Spurs will have the opportunity to move just four points behind them with four games to go.
It is a sensible decision to reassign Friend and many of you out there will think back to Howard Webb’s days as a referee and the taunts he used to receive about supposedly supporting Manchester United.