Grant may face FA's scrutiny for criticism of referee

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The Independent Football

Avram Grant may claim that his faltering English is to blame for any confusion but yesterday he appeared to accuse the referee Phil Dowd of a lack of honesty as Ashley Cole lost his appeal for wrongful dismissal against Aston Villa.

"I don't want to go against the referee," the Chelsea manager said at his press conference, which took place three hours before the Football Association announced its decision on Cole's red card for hand-ball in the 4-4 Boxing Day draw against Villa, "but I expect the referee and the assistant referee to be honest. They thought that Ashley Cole saved the ball with his hand. It has not happened, it was with his head. I think if they are honest, which they can be because they are human beings, they should admit 'we were wrong' even though it costs Chelsea two points. If I was in their place, I would say that. I expect them to say that."

Replays cast doubt on whether Cole used his arm to deflect Gabriel Agbonlahor's header, with Dowd also awarding a penalty which earned Villa a point. Cole insisted the ball came off his head, but the FA has decided this was not the case. The organisation may also decide that Grant's comments are the kind that demand further scrutiny.

Cole will now miss today's match at home to Newcastle United as he serves a one-match ban. His absence, however, is the least of Chelsea's troubles with Frank Lampard out for a month, having torn a thigh muscle, to add to the injuries to John Terry and Didier Drogba, while Claude Makelele is recovering from an ear operation. Ricardo Carvalho, also sent off against Villa, is starting a three-match ban. Chelsea, with neither Petr Cech nor Andrei Shevchenko 100 per cent fit, will soon also have to contend with the loss of four players to the African Nations Cup and Grant admitted they were looking to spend in January.

Aston Villa's Zat Knight also lost his appeal for his dismissal in the Chelsea game and will serve a one-match ban today.

Liverpool have signed the 16-year-old son of the former Aberdeen player Neale Cooper. Alex Cooper, a winger who plays for Ross County, will move to Anfield after the clubs agreed a 100,000 fee.

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