Cole claims Poll 'robbed' Chelsea to make point

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The Independent Online

Jose Mourinho is likely to escape censure from the Football Association for his comments about the referee, Graham Poll, after Chelsea's defeat to Spurs on Sunday, but the FA's compliance unit may not have finished with the champions.

Ashley Cole last night put himself in line for another fine from the football authorities when he claimed referees were biased against Chelsea and singled out Poll.

Cole accused the referee of "robbing" Chelsea and of seeking to "make a point" and being inconsistent with cautions. He added it was "not worth playing the game" with such a referee.

Cole's comments will be studied by the compliance department who yesterday indicated they would not take action regarding Mourinho's after-match criticism of the official. Mourinho complained about two key decisions, the dismissal of John Terry and the disallowing of a "goal" by Didier Drogba for an offence by Terry.

He then said he had not questioned Poll, adding: "They [referees] have always an excuse. He will say someone 30 metres away makes a fall. I don't understand why Mr Poll wants to be part of the show."

Cole said: "I'm not going to moan again, but once again we scored a goal that was fine - I've seen it on TV. Once again the referee has robbed us because if we go two up then the game is dead. There was nothing wrong with it and even if JT [John Terry] was involved with something he was nowhere near the ball.

"Poll said to Frank Lampard: 'You need to get it in check and you need discipline and all that'. If you're going to have a ref like that then you know it's not worth playing the game because you know you're going to get a hard time."

Asked if Chelsea's performance and the yellow cards they incurred in Spain against Barcelona last week had influenced Poll, Cole responded: "Of course it did. The ref's watched it and he's had an opinion and I think he's just taken it on himself to prove a point."

Cole was fined £75,000 by the Premier League in 2005 for breaking League rules by discussing a transfer to Chelsea while under contract to Arsenal. The England left-back subsequently moved to Chelsea despite believing, he said yesterday, that they were "at it" when they moaned about the referees. "That's what I thought then," he said, "but I know what it's really like now. I didn't realise until I came to Chelsea how much the refs are - I'm not saying against Chelsea, but there was nothing wrong with that goal.

"It's like when I was at Arsenal and we started to win things. The refs started to question our discipline and give us yellow cards: Patrick Vieira started to get sent off for two yellow cards when it wasn't a caution. I have come to Chelsea and it's exactly the same. I'm not moaning, I'm really not.

"I feel sorry for JT because it's his first [red card] for Chelsea and he didn't deserve it. Everyone can see he didn't deserve it but when Graham Poll is giving out cards like that then it's not fair on JT." Cole received one of the six yellow cards [two for Terry] Poll issued to Chelsea's players which will in itself trigger a fine from the FA for the club. In his case, it was for not retreating 10 yards at a free-kick. Cole complained: "I said to [Poll] 'I am more than 10 yards; why should I go back if I am more than 10 yards?' and he said: 'Because I said so'. I said: 'But I'm more than 10 yards', and that was it. Yellow card. No warning or explanation. Then [Jermain] Defoe [of Spurs] does the same thing and he does nothing!

"Chelsea are not a dirty team. It's crazy. We have to stick together and put this game behind us and look forward to the next one and win it." Arjen Robben also defended an approach which has brought Chelsea 11 yellow cards and one red in their last two matches.

"I don't think we are too tough - I think we play fair," he said. "We're not mean, we're just very good."

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