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Referee Ben Toner replaced for Blackpool’s game against Portsmouth

The EFL insist a social media joke is not the reason for Jon Moss taking over but admit there has been ‘increased attention’ in the fixture

Referee Ben Toner replaced for Blackpool’s game against Portsmouth

Referee Ben Toner is no longer refereeing Blackpool’s Sky Bet League One clash with Portsmouth on Saturday due to the game being under “increased attention”.

The match is the Seasiders’ first since their majority owner the Oyston family were found guilty of “unfair prejudice” in their running of the club and were ordered to pay businessman Valeri Belokon, a minority shareholder, £31million.

Referee Jon Moss
Referee Jon Moss has been brought in to take charge of Blackpool’s game (EMPICS Sport)

The match official’s name became the subject of a social media joke amongst fans, but the EFL says that has nothing to do with its decision to replace him at Bloomfield Road with Premier League referee Jon Moss.

Toner, from Lancashire, will instead take charge of the League Two meeting between Carlisle and Yeovil at Brunton Park.

An EFL spokesman said: “As a result of the increased attention surrounding this weekend’s League One fixture between Blackpool and Portsmouth, PGMOL has determined it would be appropriate for a Select Group 1 referee to take charge of proceedings at Bloomfield Road.

“The previously selected official will instead fill a vacancy that has arisen at Brunton Park for the League Two match between Carlisle United and Yeovil Town, as the referee who was scheduled to officiate sustained an injury during Bury’s game with Stoke City Under-21s on Wednesday evening.”

The Oystons, who were found guilty of excluding Belokon’s company VB Football from key decisions, information and share of profits, put the club up for sale on Friday.

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