Roy faces rap over ref talk

ROY Keane faces a rap on the knuckles for talking about officials before Ipswich Town's game with Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

By Derek Davis

ROY Keane faces a rap on the knuckles for talking about officials before Ipswich Town's game with Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

Although Keane did not say anything derogatory about referee Keith Hill and his team of officials, the Blues boss fell foul of a new directive issued by the FA during the summer.

When asked by me on Monday whether he was concerned that the officials may look to even things up for Palace following the 'goal' that was not allowed by Rob Shoebridge at Bristol City last Saturday, Keane smiled as he said he might have a word to remind them it was a new game, when he went in to hand in the team sheets as usual but added that he felt they were professional and would not need to be reminded.

Keane went on to add: “We respect and understand how tough it is for the officials but managers are under pressure.

“Officials are too and it looks like they are going to be punished for this which is unfortunate but it was clearly a goal.

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“They probably have the hardest job in the game but you can understand the manager's frustration because it has probably cost him a point.”

It appears that the content of what Keane said is not the issue but the fact that he had answered the question and talked about officials before the game was the problem.

An FA spokesman last night confirmed they had written to Keane asking him to explain why he had made comments about officials before the game.

The spokesman said: “Clubs were advised during the close season that any media comments by managers, players or any other club officials relating to appointed match officials prior to a fixture would no longer be allowed - such pre-match comments will be deemed improper and dealt with accordingly.”

Keane is the first manager to be admonished for the breach of rules and the FA are determined to clamp down on the infraction so the message gets through to other bosses.

Ironically, Neil Warnock who was vitriolic in his attack on the officials for not spotting Freddie Sears' shot had hit the back of the net, has been told he will not face censure from the FA for his post match comments as they were deemed not to be of a personal nature.

The FA spokesman said: “Post-match comments in relation to match officials and incidents are still permitted provided they are not personal in their nature, imply bias or attack the integrity of the officials in charge of the match, or in any other respect bring the game into disrepute.”

The crackdown comes after a number of incidents last year, most notably when Everton boss David Moyes questioned Mike Riley's appointment as referee for the FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United, saying it had been suggested to him that the official was a United supporter.

After the game, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said Moyes' remarks may have influenced Riley in a crucial decision when Danny Welbeck appeared to have been fouled in the area by Phil Jagielka.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk