Football: No complaint by Reed over replacement

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The Independent Online
Mike Reed, the Birmingham referee at the centre of the storm surrounding Chelsea's extra-time penalty winner against Leicester in their FA Cup fifth-round replay last week, has refused to be drawn on the decision by the Premier League to replace him for the Chelsea-Leicester match at Stamford Bridge next month.

Reed's decision incensed the Leicester fans and his car, which also contained members of his family, was attacked at traffic lights in London on the way home. On Monday police expressed reservations about the wisdom of Reed being allowed to referee the game on 19 April because of fears for his safety. It led to the Football Association saying it was "likely" that Reed would be replaced if a request was made by the police.

However, it was the Premier League which took the decision to axe Reed. A statement read: "The FA Premier League have decided to appoint a replacement for Mike Reed for the Chelsea-Leicester City game in April. The decision has been taken after careful consideration of the various factors involved and in consultation with the appropriate interested parties."

Reed said: "I have no comment to make. The statement from the Premier League says it all. That's enough as far as I am concerned." When asked if he was happy with the decision, he repeated his previous comments.

Leicester's manager Martin O'Neill branded the 117th-minute penalty decision, which led to Chelsea's defender Franck Leboeuf scoring the winner from the spot, as "disgraceful". But O'Neill and his Chelsea counterpart, Ruud Gullit, came out against the use of technology to aid officials and the possibility of taking up that option was ruled out by Fifa at its weekend annual meeting. O'Neill also said at the weekend that he was happy for Reed to take charge of the next meeting of the two clubs.

Two FA charges against Bruce Grobbelaar will remain on the books while the goalkeeper and his fellow-accused await the outcome of any re-trial in the Winchester Crown Court match-fixing case.

Meanwhile, it looks certain that the FA will redraft its rules governing betting on games. "Everything is on hold until the full criminal proceedings have been completed," the FA spokesman Steve Double said. "We are constantly reviewing FA rules, including those relating to betting and that was made clear some time ago."

Roger Stanislaus yesterday scrapped plans to launch his return to football with the Second Division strugglers Notts County following his 12-month drugs ban. The 28-year-old former Brentford and Leyton Orient defender, who became the first English footballer to fail a drugs test in February last year, was lined up to play for County's reserves against Wolves last night. However Stanislaus, who was sacked by Orient after testing positive and has been training at Meadow Lane this week, decided to withdraw from the game.

Sam Allardyce, the County manager, had earlier indicated he would consider offering Stanislaus, who was banned for 12 months after testing positive for cocaine in December 1995, a contract if he had shaped up well in the game.

Nicolas Anelka, Arsenal's 17-year-old signing from Paris St-Germain, made his debut for the Gunners in yesterday's reserve-team game against Norwich City as a half-time substitute after his international clearance arrived during the first half of the match.

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