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


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

  • Crystal Palace controversially lost 3-1 at home to Liverpool on January 23
  • Diogo Jota won a dubious penalty after appearing to collide with Vicente Guaita
  • Kevin Friend originally gave a goal kick before awarding a penalty after VAR
  • He’ll ref in the Championship next with Cardiff vs Peterborough on February 9¬†











Referee Kevin Friend has been stood down by the Premier League for the upcoming round of fixtures after his contentious display during Crystal Palace’s home defeat by Liverpool on January 23.

The Eagles lost 3-1 at Selhurst Park in a match that was surrounded by controversy – to the ire of the home supporters and to many neutrals.

The feeling was exacerbated further when the 50-year-old awarded Liverpool a penalty in the dying moments of the match after Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita collided with Diogo Jota.

Referee Kevin Friend has been dropped from the next round of Premier League matches after his display during Crystal Palace’s 3-1 defeat by Liverpool at Selhurst Park on January 23

Liverpool's Diogo Jota was brought down by Vincente Guaita in the final minutes of the game

Liverpool’s Diogo Jota was brought down by Vincente Guaita in the final minutes of the game

However, it appeared that the Reds forward had initiated the contact with the goalkeeper

However, it appeared that the Reds forward had initiated the contact with the goalkeeper 

Initially, Friend gave a goal kick but after being advised to look at the incident by the VAR, Craig Pawson, he changed his mind – even though it appeared that Jota had initiated contact.

Fabinho stepped up and duly scored to complete the scoreline and infuriate the south London side’s fan base even more.

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

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

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

A frustrated 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 decided to take Friend out of the firing 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 across February 8-10. Instead of being part of those, the Leicester-based official will take charge of Cardiff City and Peterborough United on February 9.

Patrick Vieira called the referee and VAR 'naive' after controversial penalty against Liverpool

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

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