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Wenger slams decision to take Friend off Spurs game

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has criticised the decision to remove referee Kevin Friend from taking charge of Tottenham's visit to Stoke City.

Friend was originally due to officiate Monday's Premier League clash at the Britannia Stadium, but has been taken off the game by Professional Game Match Officials Ltd, because he is a Leicester City fan.

Leaders Leicester sit seven points clear of second-placed Spurs in the race for the title, and the decision was taken in order to avoid "extra scrutiny on the refereeing appointment".

Neil Swarbrick has been chosen in place of Friend, who is now down to referee Manchester United against Aston Villa on Saturday, as well as Newcastle United versus Manchester City three days later.

In a media conference on Friday, Wenger was heavily critical of the decision.

"I am completely against it," he said.

"The referees are professional and you have to be impartial. I have always been against the rule.

"Social media does not dictate what happens. People have the responsibility to make the decision and I am very surprised."