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Wrong to rescind red cards

Law five of the Fifa Laws of the Game states quite clearly, “The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final.”

It goes on to state, “The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or terminated the match.”

In the latest of red cards to be rescinded by the English FA, Vincent Kompany, the Manchester City defender, had his removed from his record after an appeal by his club.

The ultimate punishment was dished out by referee Mike Dean in City’s Premier League game against Arsenal recently.

This is the third red card to be overturned following the two that were given in another recent league game between West Ham and Newcastle.

The debate on whether or not to have such a panel sitting in judgement 24 or 48 hours after a game will continue to rage on.

For the most part people will be subjective and insist that “their” player “did nothing wrong” and should not have been sent off in the first place.

An article in the Irish Independent by former Liverpool defender Jim Beglin during the week quoted him as saying that referees today were too strict and that 20 years ago players were committing worse tackles without even a warning from the ref.

He also stated that his leg was broken in a Merseyside derby and the culprit got away scot free.

First of all, let me state for the record that I believe the referee was right in this instance. Kompany came at the Arsenal player with both feet, showing his studs and, regardless of whether they were off the ground or not, he has to go.

The interpretation this season by most, if not all, the match officials in the Premier League is that in such instances an automatic red card is justifiable.

I know some people are already screaming “what about Marin of Chelsea”, who was not only off the ground but caught the opponent high up on the shin. This was a potential leg breaker yet referee Lee Mason deemed it to be a yellow card.

Well, okay, the ref got it wrong and therein lies another problem – inconsistency - but that’s an argument for another day.

Getting back to whether the red card should be rescinded or not.

I believe that if the football authorities want to make this a regular occurrence where an appeals panel sits to debate and decide whether a punishment should stand or not then they should put it in the Laws of the Game.

To arbitrarily make up things as they go along, which appears to be the case in the UK, is not only wrong but confusing and this is a problem I have with the FA. They seem to think that because they invented the game that they can change the rules as they go along

The Fifa Laws of the Game cover every field, country and continent where the game is played and are not to be tampered with by anyone without the approval of the world governing body.

If the law makers at Fifa want to implement such a plan where appeals panels can check the veracity of punishments given out by match officials, then put it in the Laws and then we can again have some level of consistency.

It seems to work well for rugby, why not soccer?

Happy Whistling

Dr. Errol Sweeney
twitter: dr_errol

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