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Refs, Man Utd fume over Villa keeper Friedel's red card being overturned

The overturning of Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel's red card has sparked a storm between the FA and referees' association.

The Daily Mail says leading officials, governed by the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd, are to write to the FA's disciplinary department to demand an explanation.

Aston Villa's Friedel was sent off by Martin Atkinson after clearly fouling striker Fernando Torres during Liverpool's 5-0 romp.

The FA, who are refusing to explain their decision, have taken the view that Friedel was trying to move out of the way when Torres clattered into him in the penalty area.

The referees, however, argue that the player was in a clear goalscoring position and, under the laws of the game, that should be a straight red card.

The news that the outstanding Friedel is free to face Barclays Premier League leaders United at Old Trafford after the international break is further good news for second placed Liverpool.

However, this latest twist is likely to provoke dismay at United who have only a one point lead over their rivals.

Senior referees claim to be 'disappointed and confused' by the FA's decision to overturn the red card.

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