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.

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
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

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits