Jol risks fine in defending Atkinson

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26: Ryan Nelson of Blackburn Rovers receives a Red Card from Referee Martin Atkinson during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers at Villa Park on February 26, 2011 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

It seems somewhat absurd that this headline can make any sense, but as Sir Alex Ferguson can testament, even praising a referee these days is illegal in the FA handbook. This is why Martin Jol should be looking over this shoulder over the next few weeks, with the Dutchman offering a toned down bag of superlatives to the under-fire Marin Atkinson. 

Atkinson has been on the end of a lot of controversy after he sent of Everton's Jack Rodwell following what seemed like a fairly timed and fairly placed tackle. The red card was later rescinded by the FA, which in itself was a move that far from spared Atkinson his blushes. 

The referee was, however, surprisingly offered a reprieve in taking to the whistle for Fulham's away tie against Stoke City and, as such, Fulham manager Jol gave his views on the ref:

'I think he is a good referee. After all, if you are in the Premier League, your quality is high.

'But as for punishing a referee for a mistake, I don't think so. We all make mistakes. I remember in Holland a couple of years ago referees being demoted and it was awful to see. You saw the No1 referee officiating in the second division and I don't think that was a good solution.'

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