First Premier League game for referee Scott

Oxfordshire referee Graham Scott, who has been based in the Football League for the past six seasons, will take charge of his first Premier League match when Burnley host Aston Villa on Saturday.

Safe pair of hands: Scott has built a reputation of avoiding controversy in the lower leagues
Safe pair of hands: Scott has built a reputation of avoiding controversy in the lower leagues

FOOTBALL League referee Graham Scott will take charge of his first ever Premier League match this weekend.

The 43-year-old will be the man in the middle for Burnley’s clash with Aston Villa at Turf Moor on Saturday (KO 15:00 GMT) – with Mike Mullarkey and Scott Ledger his assistants while Jon Moss will be the fourth official.

The Oxfordshire whistler has steadily imposed himself since being promoted to the National List at the start of the 2008/09 season.

Scott has overseen 19 matches in all competitions so far this season – six in the SkyBet Championship.

During those games, he has issued 55 yellow cards while his only red card was brandished to Leeds United midfielder Luke Murphy in their 2-1 League Cup defeat at Yorkshire rivals Bradford in August.

Scott has officiated top-flight teams in the past in cup competitions and has been fourth official for a number of Premier League games, including Swansea’s upcoming encounter with QPR at the Liberty Stadium on 2 December.

In the past fortnight, he has made two televised appearances on Sky Sports and was at the helm for the goalless draw between south London rivals Charlton and Millwall in the second-tier at the Valley last Saturday.

The Abingdon-based referee took up the whistle after his playing career was ended by a back injury and progressed through the Buckinghamshire and Berkshire local leagues before making the step up to non-league in 2005.

He was involved in a bizarre incident in January 2013 when an AFC Wimbledon fan allegedly threw a banana in his direction after being angered by a decision he made during their 2-2 draw with Port Vale.

With David Coote and Simon Hooper touted as being the main candidates in the so-called Football League “Talent Group” of officials, Scott’s appointment is largely surprising but has been well-received among refereeing circles.

He follows in the footsteps of Keith Stroud, Stuart Attwell and Paul Tierney – who have all been handed trial matches as a Select Group official so far this term.

The PGMOL are desperate to assess the potential of Football League referees at a higher level with experienced campaigners Phil Dowd and Chris Foy, who are both over the age of 50, expected to announce their retirements at the end of the season.

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