Football

Wenger has stood up for the integrity of Premier League referees.

Arsene Wenger angry after Kevin Friend stopped from refereeing Spurs match

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Arsene Wenger has voiced his anger after referee Kevin Friend was stopped from refereeing a Spurs match because he's a Leicester fan.

Friend was due to take charge of Spurs' trip to Stoke on Monday, but was instead moved to the Newcastle and Manchester City game after Premier League officials were concerned about the pressure he would be under due to his Foxes allegiance.

Wenger despondent 

When asked what he thought of the decision to move Friend, the Gunners boss said: "I'm completely against that."

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"I believe that, on some level, someone doesn't believe completely that the referee is impartial."

Arsenal sit six points behind their north London rivals with a game in hand, but their title hopes are in disarray, and they are now resigned to watching either Leicester or Spurs win the trophy.

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Spurs fans have their voice heard

Wenger is particularly unhappy because he believes Spurs fans played a role in the decision by protesting on social media.

"Social media shouldn't dictate the rules or what happens to a referee", he added.

He himself has not always enjoyed the warmest relationship with Premier League referees, but the new, self-proclaimed champion of Premier League referees insisted that clubs and fans should have no choice in which officials take charge of their games.

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST HAM-ARSENAL

Dangerous precedent 

There are fears that this decision could set a dangerous precedent for the future, whereby it becomes almost impossible to select referees for games that could have some bearing on their own teams.

On the other hand, Friend might well be relieved that he is no longer in the spotlight for the game. Had he refereed as expected, but made a mistake in Stoke's favour, his integrity would have been questioned and he could have found himself the subject of a huge backlash.

As it is, Friend - and Spurs' title bid - lives to fight another day.

Do you think Kevin Friend should be allowed to referee Spurs matches? Let us know in the comments box. 

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Topics:
Thierry Henry
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Premier League
Arsenal
Arsene Wenger

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