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Tuesday 03 July 2012

Friend to referee FA Community Shield clash

Official to take charge for Man City v Chelsea season opener on August 12th

Kevin Friend will referee his first FA Community Shield match at Villa Park in August

Barclays Premier League referee Kevin Friend will officiate the 2012 FA Community Shield between Chelsea and Manchester City on Sunday, August 12th.

The traditional curtain-raiser to the English football season will take place at Villa Park this year, with Wembley being used for the Olympic football tournament.

"I first started refereeing in 1985 and I never thought I'd reach this level"
- Kevin Friend

Friend will be joined by assistant referees Michael McDonough and Richard West, while the fourth official will be Anthony Taylor.

The 2012 FA Community Shield, the 90th in the fixture's history, is the latest achievement for Friend who was also in charge of Whitley Bay's FA Vase Final triumph over Glossop North End at Wembley Stadium in 2009.

He has also previously been a fourth official for both the League Cup final and FA Community Shield.

"My first major Cup final was the Leicestershire FA Senior Cup final in the 1990s which was a tremendous honour," said a delighted Friend.

"It felt then like a reward for the hard work, commitment and dedication that had been put in to reaching that goal, and those principles still apply to my refereeing career today.

"I first started refereeing back in 1985 and I never thought I'd reach this level back then.

"My dad was a referee but rugby was more my game when I was a kid so I had to make a decision as my commitments to both would clash. I really enjoyed refereeing so I chose that and it's paid dividends."

Matchday buzz

Almost 27 years later and Friend's excitement ahead of another new season remains as strong as ever.

"My pre-season is officially under way which I'm really pleased about as I get fairly restless during the summer," he added. "I've had a couple of weeks' holiday but you do miss the buzz of match days and the camaraderie with your colleagues.

"Villa Park has a rich football heritage and is a tremendous venue in its own right so I'm looking forward to stepping out there in August."

The 2012 FA Community Shield will kick off at 1.30pm on August 12th and features the FA Cup holders Chelsea against Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City.

The FA Charity Shield, which became the FA Community Shield in 2002, was first contested in 1908 and each year raises hundreds of thousands of pounds to be distributed to community-based football initiatives and charities up and down the country

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Key Points

  • Kevin Friend to referee FA Community Shield match
  • Manchester City & Chelsea meet at Villa Park in August
  • Match is traditional curtain-raiser to English season