FA backing for under-fire Poll as row rages over red cards

The Football Association and the Professional Game Match Officials Board, the body in charge of England's referees, remained absolute in their support for Graham Poll and his status as one of the country's leading match officials yesterday despite a week of controversy in which his integrity has been called into question.

Poll has received a show of support from his employers, who have retained him for arguably the most important fixture in the Premiership weekend, Manchester City's home game with Newcastle United ­ a contest with major implications for both managers, Stuart Pearce and Glenn Roeder. But it is still to be decided whether Poll will take charge at the crucial match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on 26 November.

Keith Hackett, head of the match officials' board, accepted last night that there had been a "blip" in relations between officials, players and managers ­ but still believes Poll is one of the leading officials in the English game. "Despite what people might think, I know Graham Poll is a world-class referee," Hackett told BBC Radio 5. "We have had a blip. I'm not going to overreact, and neither are the referees. There is criticism ­ we will examine very carefully the performances of the referees and we will look to improve."

Poll was accused of seeking to teach Chelsea a lesson in discipline by Ashley Cole on Sunday and of mishearing comments that resulted in James McFadden's dismissal for Everton three days later. He hasbeen backed by the FA's compliance department, which has let it be known to Everton that it is in complete agreement with his decision to dismiss McFadden in Wednesday's Carling Cup defeat by Arsenal and that the club would be unwise to take their grievances further.

The Scotland international was sent off for foul and abusive language in the 19th minute of the fourth-round tie, yet vehemently denied calling Poll a cheat after he had refused a penalty appeal by Andrew Johnson, and claimed that he had uttered "shite" instead. Pollstated in his official match report that McFadden had been dismissed for questioning his integrity with the word "cheat". The referee has, in the past, revealed how he would allow players to criticise his decisions but would never accept his professionalism being brought into doubt by such an accusation without recourse to a red card.

Everton attempted to resolve the argument by seeking a recording of the incident from the open microphone that Poll wore to communicate with his assistants but, as none exists, the truth lies in the official's word against McFadden's and the FA supports the referee.

The game at Goodison is the latest in a series of controversies involving Poll, but he retains the support of Hackett, who has been a staunch ally in the fallout from his handling of Chelsea's defeat at Tottenham on Sunday, when he disallowed a Didier Drogba goal and sent off John Terry for collecting two of the champions' six yellow cards.

Terry, Cole and Jose Mourinho all criticised Poll after that game and the FA is still studying the England full-back's comments with regard to a possible improper-conduct charge.

Mourinho maintained his criticism of Poll at Chelsea's Carling Cup defeat of Aston Villa on Wednesday. "Mr Poll was happy with his performance," he said. "But when you say no to a perfectly good goal, when you send off the England captain [Terry] and no one knows why and when you are the centre of attention in a game of high-quality football, I don't know why."

The fallout from the White Hart Lane game may not be over, as it may yet be deemed insensitive to put the Hertfordshire referee in charge of Chelsea's next high-profile game, at Old Trafford later this month.

For his own part, Poll is believed to be unhappy with the FA for not acting on his insistence that Chelsea had used threatening behaviour during the defeat, in particular when several players surrounded the referee to protest against his decision to book Michael Ballack.

Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
News
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
peopleFilm star says he is 'not interested in making money anymore'
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
News
peopleCampaign 'to help protect young people across the world'
Sport
footballAccording to revelations from Sergio Aguero's new biography
Life and Style
tech

News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker