REFEREE Stuart Attwell will take charge of his first Premier League game in more than two years when Leicester host West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
The clash at the King Power Stadium will be Attwell’s first in the top-flight since handling Everton’s 1-0 win against the Baggies at the Hawthorns on New Years Day 2012.
The shock recall comes as a late change to the schedule with the 32-year-old Nuneaton official replacing Mark Clattenburg, who has been dropped for two breaches in protocol following West Brom’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last weekend.
Attwell became the Premier League’s youngest official in 2008 at the age of 25 but was demoted 33 months ago after a series of controversial decisions.
The Warwickshire-based whistler, who was in the middle for MK Dons’ famous 4-0 victory over Manchester United in August, produced an indifferent performance in Newcastle’s midweek Capital One Cup win at Manchester City.
But he has been rewarded for admirably rebuilding his career as a National List official – and caught the eye with a number of improved displays in the Football League, having been watched by PGMOL officials on a regular basis.
Attwell is widely remembered for awarding a “ghost goal” to Reading in their Championship match against Watford in September 2008 when a corner was deflected over the goal-line but nowhere near the net.
Among other incidents, he was also criticised for sending off Wigan defender Gary Caldwell in their 3-0 defeat at Manchester City when he didn’t appear to witness his foul on Carlos Tevez and judging the ball was in play in the build-up to a Liverpool goal when Michael Turner had kicked the ball back for then Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet to take a free-kick.
The former Eton school pupil, who was fast-tracked to the Premier League just three years after officiating in the sixth tier of English football, has officiated 12 matches in all competitions already this season.
He has brandished 34 yellow cards and given one penalty so far this term while his only red card came in Swindon’s opening day victory over Scunthorpe in League One.