Keith Stroud has been removed from refereeing duty this weekend in the aftermath of his terrible blunder in Newcastle United’s victory over Burton Albion.
Stroud was forced to apologise after Newcastle’s narrow win for apparently not knowing the laws of the game as the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) took the rare step of issuing a statement to admit he had not applied them correctly.
The Hampshire official incorrectly awarded Burton a free kick, after spotting Newcastle’s Dwight Gayle had encroached into the penalty area before Matt Ritchie scored from the spot.
He should have merely made Newcastle retake the penalty and although the home team protested vigorously trying to point out he had got it wrong, the referee refused to change his mind after lengthy consultation with his assistants and the fourth official.
All four officials from the match at St James’ Park have subsequently been taken off their games this weekend.
Although Stroud has taken most of the blame, the fact he was not made aware of the error by either the fourth official or his assistants, is arguably more shocking than the original mistake.
Premier League referee chief Mike Riley has spoken to Stroud about the incident and sources at the PGMOL claim he is "distraught.”. Riley, though, also appears to have told the other officials to admit they were at least partly responsible for the humiliating blow to his reputation.
Fourth official Tony Harrington was due to referee Scunthorpe's game against Bolton in League One on Saturday. Assistant referee Matthew McGrath was also due to officiate at Glanford Park.
The second assistant referee, David Avent, will no longer be involved in Nottingham Forest's home tie against Huddersfield Town. It is not known how long they will remain sidelined.
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez was incensed at the time, but his mood was eased by the fact his team still managed to win the game and return to the top of the Championship.