Anthony Taylor has been appointed referee of the Manchester derby this weekend, the Premier League has confirmed.
The Premier League have confirmed the appointments for match officials this weekend and Taylor has been given his first Manchester derby with the Etihad fixture.
The decision has caused some controversy given the fact Taylor hails from Wythenshawe, a United stronghold just six miles from Old Trafford, and his appointment to United games have been questioned previously.
But the 40-year-old is an Altrincham fan and has been a FIFA listed official since 2013, marking him out as one of the best in England.
Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) are the body that make refereeing appointments for the Premier League and all officials must declare to them who they support, with Taylor revealing his backing for the National League North outfit, which is his local club.
Keith Hackett is the former head of PGMOL and he explained how the organization goes about making sure officials aren’t appointed to games where they may have a vested interest.
“At the beginning of every season the referees’ background information is audited,” he said.
“They complete a form that includes who they support, the history of if they’ve played the game and with the addresses where they are residing. That gives you a picture that comes into use when you’re appointing.”
Having declared his allegiances to Altrincham, Taylor is allowed to referee United and City games.
He has been in charge of just one United game so far this season, the dramatic 3-2 comeback win over Newcastle at Old Trafford.
The derby will be Taylor’s first City game of the season, but there was controversy last time he was involved in a fixture involving Pep Guardiola’s side.
That was the 1-0 defeat to Wigan in the FA Cup fifth round on February, when Fabian Delph was sent-off on the stroke of half-time and Guardiola and Latics boss Paul Cook were involved in a half-time confrontation in the DW Stadium tunnel.