Kevin Friend, a referee scheduled to officiate Monday’s match between Tottenham and Stoke City, has been replaced because he’s a Leicester fan, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited announced.
“Kevin Friend, initially selected for the game, is from Leicester and has attended matches at Leicester City in a personal capacity,” the PGMOL said in a statement. “Given the context of this match, it was felt unnecessary to add extra scrutiny on the refereeing appointment.”
Friend will be replaced by Neil Swarbrick to officiate the crucial match at the Britannia Stadium, before which Tottenham trails first place Leicester by seven points with five games remaining.
Friend will now serve as a referee for the Newcastle–Manchester City game.