Premier League

Kevin Friend not included as referee in next round of Premier League games

Jude Summerfield
Friend attracted criticism for his performance in Palace-Liverpool
Friend attracted criticism for his performance in Palace-Liverpool / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Referee Kevin Friend will not referee a game in the next round of Premier League fixtures following his controversial awarding of a penalty during Liverpool's win at Crystal Palace.

The Reds were given a spot kick by Friend when Diogo Jota went down under a challenge from Vicente Guaita, with replays showing the Portugal international instigating the contact.

Friend had initially given a goal kick but was then instructed to look at the replay by video assistant referee Craig Pawson, with Fabinho despatching the penalty after it was awarded to complete a 3-1 win for the Reds.

PGMOL, the body responsible for match officials in English football, say they swap their Select Group 1 officials regularly, with three referees on EFL match each week.

Palace manager Patrick Vieira was fuming after the game, saying: "He [Jota] was really smart and the referee was naive and VAR was naive. There was no way he would get the ball back to score. I don't even want to talk about it.

"We've had meetings with referees and they have explained that if there's innocuous contact, there's not going to be any penalties. I'm looking at every single angle and I don't understand how that penalty can be.

"That took our hopes away to get back into the game and get a point. That was a really poor decision by the referee and VAR."

Paul Tierney will referee Palace's trip to Norwich next Wednesday, while Chris Kavanagh will take charge of Liverpool's clash with Leicester on Thursday, though both sides are in FA Cup action before those Premier League matches take place.

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