Ref error to be investigated

Jeremy Helan (centre) is currently on loan from Manchester City. Photo: PA

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) have announced they will conduct an investigation into referee Mick Russell's failure to send off Sheffield Wednesday's Jeremy Helan in their derby with Huddersfield.

Confusion surrounded two incidents involving Helan in the first half of the goalless draw in the npower Championship.

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 need to determine why this arose and what sanction, if any, should be administered to the match officials."

It had been widely thought that Helan was shown two yellow cards but was allowed to stay on the pitch, with Huddersfield manager Simon Grayson stunned by the blunder.

Grayson said: "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.

"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 referees making big mistakes in terms of tackles and sendings off, but something quite simple like that shouldn't be happening in Championship football."

Wednesday manager Dave Jones was also concerned that any yellow card was shown for the initial "dive", believing his side should have had a penalty.

"I don't know about a first booking, it was a penalty. That's the controversy," Jones 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."

Grayson admitted that having a man advantage would not have made his side certain winners, but asked for referees to explain their actions in future.

"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?" he said.

"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."

Speaking before the explanation of the incident emerged, 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.