The Premier League has appointed Lancashire-based Chris Kavanagh as the referee for the clash between Leeds United and Everton on Saturday, and it’s a decision that will have both sets of fans fuming.
Kavanagh has recent history with both sides.
He has very recent history with Leeds after taking charge of the game against Crystal Palace ahead of the international break.
That put him at the centre of a huge VAR furore after Patrick Bamford’s goal was disallowed for his arm being offside.
To be fair to Kavanagh, the actual decision was made by Mike Dean in Stockley Park but the referee is still not on any Leeds fans’ Christmas card lists.
Maybe he’ll think he owes Leeds one?
Everton fans have even more reason to be annoyed.
Kavanagh sent off Carlo Ancelotti in the game against Man United back in March, when the Everton manager protested a late equalising goal being disallowed.
It was another contentious VAR decision that set Ancelotti off, after a Dominic Calvert-Lewin goal was given as offside after Gylfi Sigurdsson lifted his leg to let the shot through.
Ancelotti was facing a touchline ban after the game but was let off with an £8,000 fine.
So, this begs the question. When deciding who is going to referee which game, does the Premier League base it on which person is likely to wind up teams and fans the most?
Possibly the only person we’d like to see less at the moment is Mike Dean. And we imagine Ancelotti feels the same way.
He said after the incident that he hadn’t disrespected the referee, although the FA said afterwards, “The Everton FC manager admitted that his language and/or behaviour on the field of play at the end of the fixture amounted to improper conduct and also accepted the standard penalty.”
At least Mike Dean isn’t in Stockley Park this time.
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