Football: Rotterdam referee defends his decision on Koeman

THE German referee criticised by Graham Taylor for his performance during England's World Cup defeat against the Netherlands in Rotterdam has defended his actions. 'I felt I refereed the game objectively,' Karl-Josef Assenmacher said. 'Three or four officials from Fifa told me that afterwards as well.'

Taylor criticised Assenmacher for failing to send off Ronald Koeman after the defender pulled down David Platt when he was through on goal. 'I haven't watched it on television because I haven't had time,' Assenmacher said of the incident. 'But the way I saw it it wasn't so bad. That's why I only gave the yellow card. I asked the linesman, did he feel it was a professional foul and he said: 'No, I did not see it as a professional foul'.'

Jack Charlton, the Republic of Ireland manager, yesterday distanced himself from suggestions that he wanted to become the next England manager.

'I don't want anything to do with this speculation. It's all a load of rubbish,' Charlton said.

'They are not going to use me as a stick to beat Graham Taylor. The comments attributed to Ian St John, that I am interested in the England job, do not make any sense. I was giving answers to hypothetical questions.'

His current agreement with the Irish takes him to next year's World Cup finals and the Football Association of Ireland wants him to stay on at least until the 1996 European Championship finals, which England are hosting.

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