The linesman who endeared himself to millions by urging Manchester City players to thank fans that paid £62 for Arsenal tickets is ‘not being punished’, despite having been removed from FA Cup duty tonight.
John Brooks was reported to have been reprimanded by the Premier League by being removed from West Brom’s replay with QPR, as a result of his actions at the Emirates on Sunday.
Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) deny this and said Mr Brooks is off duty this evening to be ‘kept out of the limelight’.
Mr Brooks was recorded telling Joleon Lescott, Joe Hart and other City stars to applaud the travelling fans because of the exorbitant fees they were charged to attend the clash.
PGMO said: “Mr Brooks is a first-year official at this level. He is very talented and we have a duty to protect these guys.
“Obviously this has captured media attention and we are anxious to ensure that Mr Brooks does not become the story.”
They added that Mr Brooks was not deemed to have broken any rules and is expected to return to officiating at the weekend.
The news will appease fans after the decision provoked an indignant response from the football world.
Kevin Parker, general secretary of Manchester City’s supporters club, said the linesman’s actions were a great thing to do, given City’s fans were charged ‘scandalous’ rates to watch the match.
Last month, he told MM that the Premier League should intervene to bring in a fixed price for away tickets at all grounds in the division.
A storm has hung over the pricing of away seats after City returned 912 tickets of their 3,000 allocation to Arsenal, with fans revolted at paying £62.
TV pundit and ex-Manchester United star Gary Neville expressed his surprise at Mr Brooks being stood down on Twitter.
“Morning , if that’s right about the Lino at Arsenal v City being dropped tonight it’s ridiculous,” he said.