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Premier League referee Kevin Friend demoted to the EFL over ‘ridiculous’ decision

Premier League referee Kevin Friend has been demoted to the EFL over a ‘ridiculous’ decision which came in Liverpool’s win vs Crystal Palace.

Friend won’t be on duty for the next round of top flight fixtures after his contentious display during the game which saw the Eagles lose 3-1 at Selhurst Park.

The match ended in controversy – to the frustration of home supporters and some neutrals – not just for Friend’s display throughout the game but also when the 50 year old awarded Liverpool a penalty in the dying moments, after Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita collided with Diogo Jota.

Refereeing body PGMOL say they rotate their Select Group 1 officials regularly, with three referees on EFL games each week.

At first, Friend awarded a goal-kick, but after being advised to watch back the incident by VAR, Craig Pawson, he changed his mind when it appeared that Jota had initiated contact.

Fabinho stepped up and scored to complete the victory and end any chance of a Palace comeback, infuriating the south London side’s fanbase even more.

Angry Palace manager Patrick Vieira said post-match: ‘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.’

Palace chairman Steve Parish later tweeted: ‘If we are made to have an independent regulator – can we give them VAR!’

The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) have axed Friend out of the firing line for the next round of Premier League fixtures and have demoted him to the Championship instead.

The next set of top-flight games take place between February 8th and 10th. Instead of being part of those, the Leicester-based official will take charge of Cardiff City and Peterborough United on February 9th. God help them.

Twitter users reacted with Premier League referee Kevin Friend demoted to the EFL over the ‘ridiculous’ decision…

@EJSSSSS1: This is a crazy line of logic. Why would they go to the monitor if they got it right on the field? VAR would look at it, confirm ref got it right and not refer him to the monitor.

@Jimbob210712: People questioned VAR Decisions and Asked for Refs to look at the monitor, They have now gone and started to look at the monitor made a Judgement call and are now being slated for it.. Maybe Players need to be told to stop play acting and play a fair game? Might help! #VAR

@darren_m_sage: If the ref just stuck with their original decision what would be the point of VAR. Maybe take the ref course Trev and get some real world insight in being in the middle instead of spouting nonsense. @refsupportuk

@andrewcfc86: kevin friend dropped to championship for next game and pawson gets away with it. friend should be dropped but pawson should be as well. @FA_PGMOL

@CFCAzza97: Hilarious how their punishment for getting something blatantly wrong is a week off then they’re right back at it again the following week, how about we start sacking refs with a track record

@CharlieFitzh: Surely Kevin Friend being “demoted” [because of incompetence] to officiate in The Championship is an insult to all EFL Clubs? 🤔

@raff31: I really don’t rate Kevin Friend as a referee but the decision not to include him in the next round of PL fixtures because of a Jota penalty v Crystal Palace is laughable. If this is the criteria, there will be very few referees (or VAR officials) available in the coming months.

@FYPFanzine: The only beneficiary of Kevin Friend’s removal from this weekend’s fixture list is Kevin Friend. It takes him out of the firing line and draws the spotlight away from him. Palace don’t get anything from it. It won’t teach Kevin Friend anything. He’ll just carry on.

@Leylandone_35: The guy has been dire for years

@1966wall: And if there is no accountability, then the PGMOL is wide open for corruption & we see evidence for that on every match week, but no one associated with football will call it out!

@alistairclarke_: Tbf with this one whoever was on VAR planted a seed of doubt in his head by telling him to check it anyway it’s ridiculous. Constant poor officiating at all levels

@albalders39: So his punishment is a game with Preston North End without any assistance but his linesman. Seems fair

@kyle87_: To the point where if the Ref says no to VAR he’s the scapegoat. If he goes with the decision it’s a team error made in the collective nature of the group. Less accountability to referee after the fact

@djBuhagiar: Is that any surprise!! If var says, go have a look. The referee already knows in his head he needs to change his mind. If someone on a video with 30 angles thinks I’m wrong, I must be!! The var should be the one to blame here. Complete shambles!!!

@Mdp_coyi66: How does this help Palace now?? How does this help the game?? It’s going to keep happening week in week out because the league is corrupt as is world football. Everyone knows it but not everyone says something about it.

@JB4t00n: Refs have been abysmal again this season. I have seen people dive with no contact get a penalty, players get wiped out off the ball and not receive anything, thrown to the ground, lazy trips etc. I don’t even watch half the matches… The standard is absolutely shocking.

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