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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 08:23 GMT
Ref boss backs Arsenal goal claim
Robin van Persie protests against his disallowed goal
Referees' chief Keith Hackett has said that Robin van Persie's disallowed effort in Arsenal's 2-0 defeat by Chelsea should have stood as a goal.

He also revealed that Arsenal were so incensed by decisions during the game that they rang him for an explanation.

He told BBC Five Live: "Arsenal wanted to know if I had instructed officials to change their style of refereeing."

Referee Rob Styles disallowed a Robin van Persie goal as Thierry Henry was offside - although he was not 'active'.

And Hackett added: "When you examine the video many times you can see Henry is not active."

Hackett, who is head of the Professional Game Match Officials Board, added: "I think they were concerned about one or two liberal aspects of the game.

"But for the offside decision I was able to confirm this was not a correct decision by the assistant referee.

"Clearly we have a difficult law and interpretations of accuracy on this occasion; in a fraction of a second the assistant referee puts up his flag in the belief Henry becomes active from a passive position."

Hackett refused to blame Styles for the decision and also would not be drawn on comments from Arsene Wenger - after he appeared to question the impartiality of the officials.

"Rob Styles is a senior referee, a very competent official," said Hackett.

"We take on board the criticisms but, in that situation, the assistant got a very much better view and Rob is not going to wave the flag down.

"In the situation immediately after the match some managers cannot bite their lip.

"The challenge for me is to improve the standard of refereeing and we are doing that week in, week out.

"There are some positive comments from managers - and they come out occasionally from Arsenal and, on a fairly regular basis, from Chelsea."

Interview: Referee's chief Keith Hackett

Interview: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea
18 Dec 05 |  Premiership


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