Kevin Friend is DROPPED from next round of Premier League games after refereeing display

Kevin Friend is DROPPED from the next round of Premier League games after his controversial display of refereeing in Liverpool’s 3-1 win at Crystal Palace – including the decision to award Diogo Jota a questionable penalty

  • Crystal Palace controversially lost 3-1 at home to Liverpool on January 23
  • Diogo Jota won a questionable penalty after appearing to collide with Vicente Guaita
  • Kevin Friend initially kicked the goal before awarding a penalty after VAR
  • He will then referee in the Championship, with Cardiff vs Peterborough on February 9











Referee Kevin Friend has been relieved of his duties by the Premier League for the next round of fixtures after his controversial display in Crystal Palace’s home loss to Liverpool on January 23.

The Eagles lost 3-1 at Selhurst Park in a game that was shrouded in controversy – to the anger of home fans and many neutrals.

That feeling was further heightened when the 50-year-old awarded Liverpool a penalty in the dying moments of the game, after Palace keeper Vicente Guaita collided with Diogo Jota.

Referee Kevin Friend has been ruled out of the next round of Premier League matches after his performance in Crystal Palace’s 3-1 loss to Liverpool at Selhurst Park on January 23.

Liverpool's Diogo Jota was knocked down by Vicente Guaita in the dying minutes of the game

Liverpool’s Diogo Jota was knocked down by Vicente Guaita in the dying minutes of the game

However, it emerged that the Reds striker had initiated contact with the keeper

However, it emerged that the Reds striker had initiated contact with the keeper

Initially, Friend delivered a goal kick but after being asked to review the incident by VAR Craig Pawson, he changed his mind – even though it looked like Jota had initiated the contact.

Fabinho stepped up and duly scored to complete the scoring and end any chance of a comeback for Palace, further infuriating the south London fan base.

An angry Palace manager, Patrick Vieira, said after the game: “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 had meetings with referees and they explained that if there is harmless contact, there will be no penalties. I’m looking at all angles and I don’t understand how this penalty can be.

“It took away all hope of getting back into the game and getting a point. It was a very bad decision by the referee and VAR.

Friend consulted the pitch monitor before changing his mind and awarding a penalty

Friend consulted the pitch monitor before changing his mind and awarding a penalty

A frustrated Palace chairman, Steve Parish, later tweeted: ‘If we are forced to have an independent regulator can we give them VAR!’

Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) have decided to remove Friend from the firing line for the next round of Premier League fixtures and downgraded him to the Championship instead.

The next set of high-flying games will take place from February 8-10. Instead of being one of those, the Leicester-based manager will take charge of Cardiff City and Peterborough United on February 9.

Patrick Vieira called the referee and the VAR a

Patrick Vieira called referee and VAR ‘naive’ after controversial Liverpool penalty

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