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Match officials confirmed for Brighton visit

Written by Luke Vinton

Kevin Friend will be the referee for Newcastle United's first Premier League home game of the season against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday afternoon.

The Magpies host the Seagulls at St. James' Park (kick-off 2pm BST), which will be the Bristol-born official's first top-flight game of the 2020/21 campaign as a referee having acted as fourth official for Arsenal's opening-day win at Fulham as well as VAR for Chelsea's 3-1 victory at Brighton on Monday night.

Friend's last game in charge involving the Magpies came in July during United's 4-1 against AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium, with the 49-year-old booking no Newcastle players that day.

However, his last game officiating at St. James' Park - a 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers in October - saw Friend show a straight red card to Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff

The Bristol-born official took charge of 33 games last term across the Premier League, Championship, FA Cup and Carabao Cup, showing a total of 89 yellow cards and eight reds.

A member of the Select Group Referees since 2009, Friend has taken charge of an FA Cup final (2019) and League Cup final (2013) over the course of a refereeing career spanning three decades.

On Sunday, he will be assisted by Simon Beck and Adrian Holmes, with Robert Jones as the fourth official. Craig Pawson will be in charge of VAR and be assisted by Dan Robathan.

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