Premier League make Newcastle United official decision after 'ridiculous' Sheffield United claim

Referee Tony Harrington studies the pitchside monitor before awarding Everton a penalty against Newcastle United. Referee Tony Harrington studies the pitchside monitor before awarding Everton a penalty against Newcastle United.
Referee Tony Harrington studies the pitchside monitor before awarding Everton a penalty against Newcastle United. | Getty Images
The officials for Newcastle United v Sheffield United have been confirmed by the Premier League.

The Premier League has confirmed the match officials for Newcastle United versus Sheffield United this afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

Eddie Howe’s side welcome the Blades to St James’ Park hoping to bounce back from Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace - a result that ended their four-match unbeaten run.

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But while there is a lot at stake for the Magpies in their hunt for European qualification, the visitors are also faced with a difficult situation knowing a defeat on Tyneside will see them relegated straight back to the Championship.

Referee Tony Harrington studies the pitchside monitor before awarding Everton a penalty against Newcastle UnitedReferee Tony Harrington studies the pitchside monitor before awarding Everton a penalty against Newcastle United
Referee Tony Harrington studies the pitchside monitor before awarding Everton a penalty against Newcastle United | Getty Images

Overseeing the fixture is Tony Harrington, whose grandfather played for North East counterparts Hartlepool United. He recently officiated Newcastle’s 1-1 draw against Everton earlier this month, where he awarded a late penalty that was converted by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

In January, Harrington officiated Sheffield United’s 3-2 defeat at Palace, where Chris Wilder labelled his performance as 'ridiculous' and accused a linesman of a 'complete lack of respect' for eating a sandwich in a post-match meeting

"It's yet again another ridiculous performance from the referee," said Wilder. "I was told by a Premier League referee, who I've known for a long time and who's as honest as the day is long. He said every 50-50 decision will go against you.

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"We had two bookings in the first half of the game but they weren't bookings. They were just a coming together.

"Their boy absolutely takes our goalkeeper out, we have to change goalkeepers and the boy doesn't get booked. He says it was an accident, he clashed, it makes no odds if it's an accident or it's not an accident. It's a yellow card.

"We pick up four yellow cards, they pick up one at the death for time wasting. They're taking an age. Their game management was good, but they're taking an age.

"We talked with Howard Webb about speeding the game up and making sure that referees have got a grip on that and he could hear the frustration for the supporters. He could see our frustration from our players.

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"Every 50/50 or tight decision goes against us and if that's what we're going to have to deal with between now and the end of the season, we're going to deal with it.

"But I'm not just going to go under the radar and not say anything. I've been to see the referee and I've told him that.

"One of his assistants was eating a sandwich at the time, which I thought was a complete lack of respect. Hopefully he enjoyed his sandwich while he was talking to a Premier League manager."

Wilder was later fined £11,500 by the FA as his comments "imply bias and/or attack the integrity of the referee, or referees generally, and/or bring the game into disrepute".

Harrington will be assisted by Eddie Smart and Sian Massey-Ellis with Andy Madley and Ian Hussin on VAR duty. Robert Jones is the fourth official.

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