Exclusive - Atkinson dropped for Weekend's matches



By Alex Byrom
Referees Editor

Martin Atkinson will not referee an English game this weekend because of his 'howler' in the FA Cup Sem-Final at Wembley between Chelsea and Tottenham on Sunday

Instead he has been appointed to an Olympic qualifier due on Monday.

The 41-year-old has been dropped from service this week after replays showed that the ball hadn't crossed the line - even though he blew and didn't even consult his linesman. 

He will be the fourth official at Newcastle's Premier League clash with Stoke on Saturday.

He will officiate at Senegal's game with Oman in Coventry on Monday in an qualifying game for the 2012 Olympics in London. 

Fifa rules mean that he cannot referee a game on the eve of a travel day for an international fixture, which still stands even though the match is at the Ricoh Arena, a decision that was made before Sunday's drama, as Atkinson is also an extra assistant at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday as Bayern Munich take on Real Madrid.  

Atkinson has been involved in high-profile incidents - not just this season - but across recent seasons already.

Last season he was accused of being "biased towards Chelsea" and "not strong enough to referee big games by both Sir LAex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, with Fergie's comments coming the day after Chelsea beat United 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. 

Atkinson - from West Yorkshire - failed to send off David Luiz for a second booking after THREE fouls on Wayne Rooney off the ball. He then awarded the blues a controversial penalty 3 minutes from time, and sent off Nemanja Vidic in stoppage time. 

Ironically last season's Premier League game between Chelsea and Tottenham at the Bridge ended in controversey as Chelsea were gifted an equaliser when the Linesman ruled that the ball had crossed the line (it hadn't) for Chelsea who went on to win 2-1. He was the referee. 

Last weekend, he did not punish a high challenge by Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli on Arsenal midfielder Alex Song as Arsenal beat Manchester City 1-0 at the Emirates.

He also sent off Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell in October's derby with Liverpool, with the red card overturned on appeal, and he failed to notice that QPR defender Clint Hill had a header which also went over the goalline against Bolton in March.

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