Referee accused of 'not paying attention' in Leeds United Championship clash takes charge of Leicester City game at Elland Road

Referee Darren England will officiate his 16th Premier League match at Elland Road on Sunday.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 4:07 pm

England has been the man in the middle for nine Leeds United matches in his career, during which time he’s shown a red card to just one Whites player, when Kalvin Phillips made a reckless tackle in a dispiriting 4-2 loss to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on New Years’ Day in 2019.

Whites fans don’t have to cast their minds back too far to recall England’s most memorable encounter with Leeds.

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England was the man in the middle when Leeds came from behind to beat Millwall 3-2 at Elland Road after a string of questionable first-half decisions played a significant role in the hosts’ 2-0 half-time deficit.

Foremost of these was the referee’s decision to point to the spot when Gjanni Alioski felled Jon Dadi Bodvarsson in the area, even though the ball appeared to have left the field of play in the run-up.

The referee’s performance enraged the Leeds camp, and both director of football Victor Orta and head of communications James Mooney were handed one-match stadium bans for remonstrating with England in the interval.

In his programme notes for the following game, Kinnear hit out at what he felt was negligence by England, and revealed that the club had highlighted 17 separate decisions for review in their match officials report.

Premier League referee Darren England. Pic: Catherine Ivill.

"The only negative from that match was that the standard of EFL officiating was once again bought into question," Kinnear wrote.

"While most of our feedback to the match official assessors this season has been around interpretation of the rules, some of the decisions against Millwall forced us to add 'simply not paying attention' to our list of concerns.

"As we do not believe there is any anti-Leeds conspiracy or agenda, we can only concede that EFL referees have challenges with handling the pressure of higher-profile occasions."

The Doncaster-born referee has taken charge of three top flight fixtures so far this season, including Leeds’ 2-2 draw with Everton at Elland Road, where England pointed to the spot after Liam Cooper held Dominic Calver-Lewin at the back post. The Whites skipper and Patrick Bamford went into his book, while four Toffees men were shown yellow.

Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips is shown red by Darren England in a Championship match against Nottingham Forest. Pic: Matthew Lewis.

On Sunday at Elland Road, England will be assisted by Gary Beswick and Dan Robathan, with Robert Jones acting as the fourth official. Peter Bankes will take charge of VAR, with Neil Davies assisting.

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