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EPL: Read why Referee Kevin Friend taken off from Tottenham’s trip to Stoke

Premier League referee Kevin Friend has been taken off Tottenham’s clash with Stoke on Monday – because of his links to Leicester City.

Friend’s appointment drew an angry response from Spurs fans as they bid to win their first ever Premier League title.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men sit seven points behind Leicester in the table with five games remaining, ahead of their trip to the Britannia.

Friend, who also lives in Leicester, is not picked to officiate matches including the Foxes but games that might have ramifications for the club he supports, are not usually taken into consideration.

The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd have now replaced him with Neil Swarbrick with Friend taking control of Newcastle vs Manchester City on Tuesday.

A statement said: “PGMOL has made the decision to change the referee for the match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur as Kevin Friend, initially selected for the game, is from Leicester and has attended matches at Leicester City in a personal capacity.

“Given the timing and context of this match, it was felt unnecessary to add extra scrutiny on the refereeing appointment.

“Neil Swarbrick will referee the match and Friend will referee Newcastle United vs Manchester City.

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