Football: Danson dropped for tie

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The Independent Online
PAUL DANSON, the referee who was relegated from the Premiership list at the end of the 1996-97 season, has been taken off tomorrow's FA Cup third-round tie between Lincoln City and Sunderland at Sincil Bank after requests from both clubs.

The decision, almost unprecedented, was taken by the Football Association after an initial approach from Sunderland, whose last match under the Leicester-based referee resulted in two players being sent off in the first 20 minutes against Arsenal at Highbury in September 1996.

Lincoln, whose chairman and manager, John Reames, is a former chairman of the FA's Referees Committee, also wished to have Danson removed, after a controversial match at Northampton Town earlier this season where a mass fracas broke out.

No replacement official has been announced, but the FA has decided to act to prevent any possibility of public order being affected by Danson's involvement. David Davies, the FA's acting chief executive, said: "The views of both clubs were taken into account before that decision was made."

Sunderland's view was clouded by Danson's performance at Highbury two years ago, when Martin Scott and Paul Stewart were dismissed during a 2-0 defeat. Danson was removed from the Premiership list at the end of that season after a sequence of low marks from the referees' assessor, and has since been restricted to officiating games in the Nationwide League and below.

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