Manchester-born referee Anthony Taylor will oversee Manchester United’s Premier League trip to Liverpool next Monday.
Taylor, who was born six miles away from Old Trafford in Wythenshawe, will take charge at Anfield for the biggest game in the upcoming round of fixtures when the Premier League resumes after the international break.
In 2013, former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers questioned why Lee Mason, who is from Bolton, refereed his side’s 2-1 loss to Manchester City.
“I certainly wasn’t questioning the integrity of referees,” Rodgers said at the time. “It was more than logical [to question] having a referee from that part of the world [get] a game in Manchester.
“Hopefully we won’t have a Greater Manchester referee with Liverpool-Manchester games in future.”
Rodgers was ultimately fined £8,000 for his comments.
In April this year, Keith Hackett, the former head of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), said: “At the beginning of every season the referees’ background information is audited.
“They complete a form that includes who they support, the history of if they’ve played the game and with the addresses where they are residing.
“That gives you a picture that comes into use when you’re appointing. It’s about ensuring, for example, you wouldn’t appoint a Sheffield-based ref for a Sheffield team.”
Referee Kevin Friend, who has acknowledged he is a Leicester fan, was scheduled to officiate Tottenham’s visit to Stoke last season, but was replaced after a social media campaign.
Taylor’s appointment for the match between Liverpool and United has been questioned by some fans on social media.
Taylor, who reportedly supports non-league side Altrincham, has overseen seven Premier League matches this season, handing out 23 yellow cards.