Referee at centre of Elland Road controversy set to be reunited with Leeds United at Brighton

Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa will be reunited with referee Craig Pawson this weekend for the club's Premier League trip to Brighton.

By Joe Urquhart
Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 12:11 pm

The Whites travel to face the Seagulls on the south coast with both teams looking to get back to winning ways in domestic action.

Leeds sit 17th in the standings, having won just two games all season, while Brighton are winless in their last seven top flight outings though remain in ninth after a strong start.

Match official Pawson will be the man in the middle at the Amex stadium on Saturday night and is a figure well known to the Whites fan base.

Leeds United and Liverpool players after Harvey Elliott's Elland Road injury. Pic: Getty

The 42-year-old from South Yorkshire took charge of the controversial 3-0 defeat to Liverpool at Elland Road earlier in the campaign.

Bielsa's side were well beaten on the day in LS11 back in September thanks to goals from Mo Salah, Fabinho and Sadio Mane.

The game, though, is most remembered for Pawson's decision to send off Leeds defender Pascal Struijk following a collision with Reds attacker Harvey Elliott during the second half.

Play initially continued following the coming together on the halfway line though was swiftly halted once an ankle injury to Elliott became apparent.

Medical staff rushed to the 18-year-old as visiting boss Jurgen Klopp reacted angrily to home supporters in the dugout.

After a lengthy stoppage, Struijk was eventually handed his marching orders despite a free-kick having failed to be given for what looked to be a clean tackle.

United later appealed the decision to the Football Association but saw their complaints swiftly turned down and Struijk's three-match ban upheld.

Elliott himself took to social media to say it was a freak accident and nothing more after he was applauded from the pitch on a stretcher.

The dismissal is the only one Pawson has brandished in eight Premier League games this term, alongside 28 yellow cards in the top flight.

He took charge of Leeds just once last season, as the Whites held arch rivals Manchester United to a 0-0 draw on home soil in April.

Pawson will be backed by assistants Lee Betts and Richard West this weekend while John Brooks will be the fourth official.

Jarred Gillett has been allocated as the lead VAR official with Gary Beswick assisting him from Stockley Park.