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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 7, 2006

Ref supremo Hackett angry about Cole claim

Referees' chief Keith Hackett has voiced his disappointment at Ashley Cole's criticism of Graham Poll.

Hackett has discussed the matter with Poll and an assessor who heard via microphone all exchanges between officials and players in Chelsea's controversial 2-1 defeat at Tottenham on Sunday.

He has also expressed 'very serious doubts' about the likelihood of Poll making some of the comments attributed to him by Cole.

Six Chelsea players were booked and captain John Terry was sent off in the Barclays Premiership match, after which Blues manager Jose Mourinho was the first to publicly criticise Poll.

Cole has since weighed in - and when asked his reaction to the England defender's remarks, Hackett told BBC Radio 5 Live: 'It is disappointing. It puts doubt in the public's mind about the integrity of one of my referees.

'I have very serious doubts that one of our most experienced and world-class referees would make that kind of comment.'

Hackett added that initial evidence appears to support that view.

'The player who has made the comments should be aware that the referee along with his assistant referees are all `miked' up,' he said.

'My assessor can hear from before kick-off to the end what is being said. If anything untoward was said I will be able to discuss it with Graham's colleagues on the day.

'Already having talked to one of his colleagues who was listening, it has been flatly denied.

'I have told Graham not to comment on this matter, because it may be investigated by the football authorities.'

Hackett is perturbed that players and managers should feel the need to comment publicly about referees' performances - because he believes the processes are in place to allow them to discuss such matters privately with the officials concerned.

'If the manager is unhappy with the referee's performance he can talk to him 30 minutes after the game,' he said.

'We have very clear communication. I am not happy when a player publicly criticises a referee, because I believe I have put in place the channels to satisfy their frustrations.'