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Question Number: 31644

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/19/2017

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

There was a straight red shown to the Man U captain on the day " Antonio Valencia " in a recent preseason match.

Certainly a bookable offence however, it just seems to be a bit on the weak side of what falls in to serious foul play category (A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play.).

While we must of course protect players " it makes me think of some games I have seen (in particularly in the EPL) that would end up as an abandoned match due to less then seven players if this was the straight red guideline.

I do not for second what to say we can condone these tackles - it is 100% a bookable challenge. I just squirm a bit about a straight red.

On a technical sense, I'd probably have to support any technical argument about how it might meet a Red card offence, but for each tackle like this that is given a straight red, I reckon we have see twenty far worse that don't get a red.

Maybe the (self imposed confusing) point I'm heading towards is consistency of what falls into what level.

Maybe it is just like those 'soft' penalties we see - technically a penalty, but on another day, might not get called as one.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Russell.
In most EVERY important match I have SEEN DIRECT RED CARD incidents GO unpunished be it the German knee to the head of the Argentinian in Brazil to the Dutch foot in the Spanish chest in Africa. We set such strange standards in an effort to entertain. I recall the poor Russian referee receiving nothing but criticism for the Portugal Holland match where yellow cards accumulated like rabbits multiplying but NO direct reds. There were two direct reds right at the beginning one was only awarded a yellow the other missed in the PA. I recall arriving in a community where I started as a new official in a Sunday/Saturday beer league when I would up sending off 7 players and many cautions. They were upset that I should be so harsh but I was equally concerned they played so recklessly given they had to work on Monday? Their cry, 'You cannot ref like that!' I replied, 'You can not play like this safely!' Let just say I won the argument given I refereed the rest of the season and with a LOT less cards!
Cynical tackles and retribution style tackles must be watched carefully by a referee who is aware of the unhealthy suppressed rage simmering in players minds for real or perceived injustice! I hold the opinion we often over use LAW 18 common sense as justification to dial down the need to send off as if it is OUR fault for screwing up the match. When it is their choice of actions that bring it down to ground & pound!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
This is serious foul play all day long and it meets all the requirements easily for a sending off.
I am somewhat surprised that you do not view this as SFP and you should review the video. Valencia had no hope of playing the ball and he kicked through into the back of the opponents legs with no effort to play the ball.
Without seeing all of the game I thought to myself there is something more here. Valencia shows no regard for the opponents safety in that he comes through the back of the player at pace and with excessive force taking out his legs. It was supposed to be a friendly and he simply whacked him from the rear.
From searching the web it appears that Valencia was just on the field of play and it appears that he took retribution on this player for a previous challenge on Mata in which Mata got an injured ankle and had to be removed. Shows that at whatever level how an unsanctioned foul can escalate into something more serious such retribution involving SFP and VC.
I also rarely take issue with referees taking strong action in challenges with red cards. My colleague Referee Dawson introduced me to the concept of Fingerspitzengefühl which is a German term, literally meaning "finger tips feeling" and meaning intuitive instinct, which has been appropriated by the English language as a loanword. It describes a great situational awareness, and the ability to respond appropriately in the game context taking into account all that is going on. The referee knew this was retribution by Valencia and that it went back to a previously unsanctioned foul incident. Some suggestion as well that the referee asked United to take off Valencia which they declined and he was then sent off?. As I have said many times there is no such thing as a friendly and referees should apply the law fully as if it was a competitive game. The Salt Lake City player I understand had to be carried off and took no further part in the game.

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