Former referee’s chief Keith Hackett has criticised the appointment of Manchester-based referee Anthony Taylor for Monday’s meeting of Manchester United and Liverpool.
Taylor lives six miles from Old Trafford, which Hackett believes could lead to allegations of partiality.
“No-one is questioning his integrity,” Hackett said. “But what if something goes wrong? It would be intolerable.”
Taylor has no United ties and supports National League North side Altrincham.
Hackett, the former head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited body which appoints referees to matches, also pointed to the fact that Mark Clattenburg will be acting as a fourth official at another game this weekend.
Clattenburg was the referee for the 2016 Champions League, FA Cup and European Championship finals.
“If something happens, it would be those who appointed him who must take the blame for taking such an avoidable risk,” Hackett added.
Inconsistencies in appointments
Earlier this year Leicestershire-based Kevin Friend was removed from Tottenham’s game against Stoke because he supports their then title rivals Leicester.
In the same month, though, Newcastle fan Michael Oliver was allowed to oversee a match between the Magpies’ relegation rivals Norwich and Crystal Palace.
In 2006, Tranmere Rovers supporter Mike Dean was withdrawn from the 2006 FA Cup final between Liverpool and West Ham due to being based in the Wirral.
Liverpool fans angry
Reds supporters have gone to social media to express their frustrations about the appointment…
“It is a small slice of what can be expected if things go wrong for Anthony – and his bosses – in the game itself,” former referee Hackett added.
What does the appointing body say?
PGMOL says the process behind referee selection is all about avoiding “unnecessary extra external pressure and scrutiny on referees” in what is an “already a high pressure and demanding job”.
It also says that where a referee lives is not a factor when referee appointments are considered.