Top referee Chris Foy, the man at the centre of the recent Tottenham Hotspur ‘ghost goal’ controversy, will be in the middle when Town host Leeds United in the Championship on Saturday lunchtime.
The St Helens whistler, who also took the Leeds versus Town game at Elland Road in September, is a member of the Select Group of officials and usually operates in the Premier League.
Refereeing chiefs insist he has not been demoted for failing to spot Jan Vertonghen was inside his own half when the defender was flagged offside by Adam Nunn before scoring towards the end of Spurs’ 2-1 win at White Hart Lane on January 17.
Nunn, from Wiltshire, will also be on duty at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday, with Andrew Fox (Warwickshire) the other assistant and Darren Bond, from Lancashire, the fourth official.
Foy’s decision at Tottenham was described as the worst of the season by many commentators, including former Premier League referees
Vertonghen’s strike was disallowed after Nunn told Foy that the defender had only one opposition player between him and the goal when the pass to him was delivered, with Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon having come up from a corner.
Both officials failed to notice that Vertonghen had been around five yards inside his own half at the time, rendering the offside rule irrelevant
Professional Game Match Official Limited, who appoint referees, do have a policy of removing officials from the spotlight if they have made a series of errors but they denied this has been the case with Foy.
Since his first appointment as an official in the Football League in 1994 and his promotion to the Select list in 2001, Foy has refereed a number of notable matches, including the finals of the FA Cup (2010) and League Cup (2009).
The 52-year-old has taken 17 games so far this season, the most recent Friday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie between Cambridge United and Manchester United.
He has issued eight red cards, one of them to Leeds defender Gaetano Berardi against Town, and 59 yellows.
Leeds have another defender, Giuseppe Bellusci, starting a two-match suspension against Town after his straight red card during the 1-0 home win over Bournemouth nine days ago.