Referee `shocked' at instant ban for Poole

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The Independent Online
The referee Richard Poulain has admitted he was shocked by the instant ban given to Birmingham City defender Gary Poole, the man he sent off for pushing him at Maine Road on Saturday.

The Football Association took prompt action on receiving Poulain's faxed report, immediately suspending Poole for two weeks, all of which took the Huddersfield official by surprise.

He said: "I'm shocked and surprised by the FA's action. I didn't know they had an instant ban option. I thought players normally had 14 days' grace - I understand why Birmingham City manager Trevor Francis says he's surprised. So am I.

"I didn't put anything in the report about an assault or an attack. The FA must have put that inference on things themselves. All I wanted to point out was why I sent him off - which was for pushing me from behind."

The 29-year-old former Southend full-back rushed up to referee Poulain after the official had awarded Manchester City a last-minute match-winning penalty. Poulain required treatment from the City physio for the injury he received after the game and indicated that he would be reporting Poole to the FA.

Lancaster Gate spokesman Steve Double said Poole had been charged with misconduct and has been placed under instant suspension. Double said: "In the situation where a player is alleged to have assaulted a match official it is within our powers to order the offender not to participate in any footballing activity until a commission of inquiry is heard.

"That is what has been done today and the hearing to investigate this matter will be held at Lancaster Gate on Monday, 7 October."

The action meant that Poole missed Birmingham's Coca-Cola Cup second round, second leg tie with Coventry last night and will also miss Saturday's important home game with Queen's Park Rangers. Francis admitted the news had come as a shock to him, with Poole selected in his original line-up for the game against Coventry.

Two North-west neighbours were yesterday busy denying tongue-tying transfer stories concerning Billy McKinlay and John McGinlay.

Blackburn Rovers dismissed suggestions that the Scotland midfielder McKinlay is set to join Celtic, while Bolton Wanderers denied rumours that McGinlay is ready to join Dundee United.

McKinlay, who played in Euro 96, has yet to start a game for Blackburn this season, but talk of him being unsettled has been dismissed by the club. Tony Parkes, assistant manager at Ewood Park, said: "It's just paper talk. These things happen when a player isn't in the team but Billy seems very happy here."

Bolton have denied that striker McGinlay is on his way to Dundee United. Reports north of the border suggested the 32-year-old Inverness-born McGinlay is a target for the Tannadice club, but the Bolton manager, Colin Todd, said: "There isn't an ounce of truth in the story."

McGinlay has played a leading role in helping Bolton surge to the top of the First Division this season following last season's relegation from the Premiership.