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Dec 29, 2012

Russell decision to be investigated

Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) is to conduct an investigation into referee Mick Russell's failure to send off Sheffield Wednesday's Jeremy Helan in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Huddersfield.

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Helan was shown a first yellow card by Russell for diving in the ninth minute and was then given a second for a 26th-minute foul on Adam Hammill.

However, Russell, who has since admitted making an error, attributed the first booking to Helan's team-mate Michail Antonio. When he went to book Helan for the second offence he had no note of the first booking by the player's name, and so did not send him off.

A statement from the PGMOL read: "Both Professional Game Match Officials Limited and The FA are to conduct an investigation into an incident that took place in the Huddersfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday game in the npower Championship on Saturday.

"In the eighth minute of the match Mick Russell, the referee, stopped play when Jeremy Helan was adjudged to have simulated an offence inside the Huddersfield penalty area. However, it appears that instead of Helan (number 24) receiving a caution, one was given instead for Michail Antonio (number 7). At this point the referee recorded the name and number of Antonio in his notebook and advised the fourth official over the communication system that Antonio, number seven, had been cautioned.

"In the 25th minute Helan was cautioned following a foul challenge. As the referee had not previously recorded his name he did not issue a red card for receiving a second caution in the same game.

"The official has subsequently admitted making a genuine error and PGMOL and the FA need to determine why this arose and what sanction, if any, should be administered to the match officials.''

Huddersfield manager Simon Grayson was stunned by Russell's blunder and has called on the FA to introduce post-match press conferences for officials.

"I think he's probably written the wrong number down in his book, which is staggering, and I also think he should have been helped by his officials, who should be overruling because they all know, when a referee makes a mistake like that, who he's booking,'' he said.

"The lineman should be helping out. He's not done it deliberately, but you can't make major mistakes like that. He's put (Michail) Antonio's number in his book, but he was nowhere near the incident. I don't mind referee's making big mistakes in terms of tackles and sendings off, but something quite simple like that shouldn't be happening in Championship football.

"I'm not going to say Wednesday going down to 10 men would have guaranteed us winning the game, but it would have certainly helped us and what if the lad had gone on to score or created the winning goal? It would have been a massive talking point, which it is already.

"I just think referees in general should be accountable for any decisions and have a press conference after the game, whether good decisions or bad decisions. It shouldn't be up to myself or Dave Jones to explain, they should be out and you (the media) should be able to ask questions as to why he made certain decisions. I've not seen Dave, but I'm sure if it was the other way round he wouldn't have been so calm and as placid on the touchline as he was.''

Wednesday manager Dave Jones believes the first yellow card should not have been a booking anyway.

"I don't know about a first booking, it was a penalty. That's the controversy,'' he said. "Helan has been clipped and he's not the type of lad to do that (dive). I think we should have won the game, that's what I'm perplexed about. We should have had a penalty and we had the chance towards the end with (Mamady) Sidibe's header.''

Former Football League official Tony Leake said he expects Russell to have to stand down for a period over his error, and believes a replay of the fixture is not out of the question.

Leake told Press Association Sport: "The matter will now need to be dealt with by the relevant authorities. You cannot rule out the possibility of a replay. If Huddersfield won the game 3-0 I would not expect that to happen. But if Huddersfield believe the player being on the field meant the result did not go in their favour then it could be that the game is replayed.''

English referee Graham Poll famously booked Croatia defender Josip Simunic three times before showing a red card during their 2006 World Cup fixture against Australia. Following that error FIFA president Sepp Blatter indicated Australia could have demanded a replay had they lost and been knocked out.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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