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From now on Premier League referees will be able to take charge of the matches where the teams they support are playing. However, the whistlers will not be allowed to ref teams they are fans of.

Mark Clattenburg is a Newcastle fan and was in charge of the FA Cup final between Manchester United and Crystal Palace. Michael Oliver is also a Newcastle fan.

Martin Atkinson is a Leeds fan and Jon Moss, whose decision of sending off Jamie Vardy and giving away two penalties so easily, which were debatable in the 2-2 draw between West Ham and Leicester City in April created a lot controversy, is a Sunderland supporter.

From next season, refs can officiate matches that have a direct bearing on the clubs they support.

After the incident of Kevin Friend being taken off the pitch from the Stoke City vs Tottenham Hotspurs, as Kevin was a Leicester City fan, who were title rivals of the London club, Refs organisation the PGMOL has brought in few changes.

According to the new rule, the official in charge of the game, must let the organization know which club they or their family members support.

Mark Halsey, a SunSport Columnist, who used to be a top ref, said: “Nearly every referee supports a club. It’s how our love of the game started.

“It makes no difference to the way they referee matches. The integrity of the game is not affected. Referees have always had to declare their support for a club or if their family are season-ticket holders of clubs.

“Taking Kevin Friend off Stoke versus Spurs was ridiculous.”

54 years old Halsey, 54, who has been a Premier League referee for 14 years, said: “I was a massive QPR fan and in the early days I refereed them a couple of times.

“Though I refereed those matches properly, I eventually asked not to do them as it didn’t feel right.

“When John Spencer scored for Rangers against Portsmouth once I almost felt like joining in!

“But our refs have integrity and it does not matter which team they support. We have no bribery or corruption in our game in this country.”


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