Al Fayed in stinging attack on refs, FA and top flight chiefs

FULHAM chairman Mohamed Al Fayed has launched a stinging attack on the game’s lawmakers, accusing referees of being influenced by big clubs and questioning the integrity of both the Football Association and the Premier League.

Al Fayed has written to both bodies demanding “an immediate review of refereeing practices and the process of decision making” and arguing for the introduction of video technology, Fulham said, to avoid “increasing inconsistencies and blatant errors”.

The Craven Cottage chief urged the Premier League to “wake up” from its “coma”, highlighting in particular the controversial decision to deny his club a penalty in last month’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester United, when Michael Carrick appeared to trip Danny Murphy.

His rebuke also follows a series of contentious calls this week, including QPR’s failure to overturn Shaun Derry’s red card at Old Trafford and Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli’s avoidance of further punishment for a high challenge on Arsenal’s Alex Song.

“The losses that we incur from such careless decisions have a huge impact and can have calamitous consequences,” said Al Fayed. “Referees are all too easily influenced by the more powerful clubs and individual owners which calls into question the integrity of both them, and the governing body they report to.

“It is time for the Premier League to wake up. They have been in a coma for a long time. Lots of clubs are suffering from such stupid decisions. Advanced technology is available and it is evidently being used in other sports.”

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan joined Al Fayed in calling for the Premier League to implement video technology, if necessary breaking ranks with world governing body Fifa.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have appealed defender Branislav Ivanovic’s violent conduct charge from Saturday’s win over Wigan, which carries a three-match ban. His case will be heard today.