Darren Cann

So Darren Cann is selected to run the line for Crystal Palace’s FA Cup tie with Manchester City on Saturday.

Only then is it realised that the World Cup final assistant referee once played for Palace – and he is withdrawn. This sums up for me the current poor state of play with the administration of our top officials.

Darren Cann has already proved his status as one of the greatest assistant referees following his appointment to the 2010 World Cup Final. He was one of my most reliable officials when I was in control of the PGMOL.

This FA Cup appointment was carried out by the Football Association’s Referees Department – with all appointments ratified by the chairman of the committee.

Considering all the games available in this fourth round of the Cup, with a quick glance at Darren’s records this fiasco could have been avoided.

It’s not the first time that the head of senior referees at the FA has made such a stupid error. We can go back to the time when Mike Dean was appointed to the FA Cup final prior to the semi-finals taking place. When Liverpool progressed to the final, the FA decided to move Wirral-based Mike off the game. It was a terrible time for this referee and his family.

Darren Cann’s colleagues will find some amusement in this mess up as it will not unduly affect him. But it’s still embarrassing. Darren will now be officiating in the Tottenham v Wycombe game instead.