Hackett delivers verdict on Kavanagh integrity after Aston Villa controversy

Keith Hackett has called on the PGMOL to not appoint referees from Greater Manchester to games involving the two Manchester clubs after United’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-FIFA and Premier League referee delivered his verdict after Dean Smith fumed over two incidents in the game.

The Villa boss was not happy with the sending of Ollie Watkins for a second yellow card for simulation towards the end of the game.

He also told Sky the foul on Paul Pogba that led to a penalty and United’s equalising goal was a “pathetic decision”.

This all comes after Birmingham Live reported on their Facebook page reported prior to the game that referee Chris Kavanagh is from Manchester and the six games he has officiated involving the Manchester clubs had resulted in five wins and a draw.

In his post-match press conference, Smith refused to be drawn in on any talk of a conspiracy and instead called for more consistency from officials.

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“If Dean Smith did say anything then he’d be charged by the FA,” Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.

“That’s why he’s not said anything.

“I don’t want to question the integrity of the referee in this area. However, maybe the manager of the PGMOL should consider when there are games of this nature that he continues to not appoint referees from Greater Manchester to games involving Manchester clubs.”

The 3-1 loss leaves Villa 11th in the table with four games to go.

They have home games against Everton and Chelsea and away fixtures with Crystal Palace and Tottenham before the end of the season.

In other news, a West Brom rising star has headed to Aston Villa after permission is granted.